The cover art might bring to mind something along the lines of DYING FETUS, a comparison that’s not altogether inaccurate, but what these Canadians bring to the table is ultimately a lot more rewarding than mere Neanderthal Death Metal. Treading that fine line where Death Metal and Grindcore converges, and mixing in a fair bit of groove as well as the occasional art rock flourish, SELECT AND DISMEMBER’s “Annihilation Foretold” is an album that traverses a lot of sounds and styles.
Canadians are masters of the ugly and the brutal, and while there is plenty of both on display here the album never gets bogged down by an overreliance on mindless blasting. A gritty mix of CRYPTOPSY-style Death Metal (think “Once Was Not”), some latter-day NAPALM DEATH and the odd pinch of SWANS is what awaits the listener on “Annihilation Foretold”, and the formula works rather well – for the most part anyway. Raland Kinley’s belched growls and shrieks definitely bring to mind Lord Worm, while the guitars of Chris O’Neill and Ryan Hand slice ‘n dice their way through a series of riffs that grind, groove, pummel and chill out whenever the songs demand. It’s all quite intricate but the somewhat dirty sound and varied tempo ensure that proceedings never degenerate into the sterile fare of, say, NECROPHAGIST.
The opening assault of “Residual Individual” instantly brings to mind one of my favourite Canadian Grind bands (EXIT STRATEGY), while the jarring tempo breaks and subtle groove of “Might As Well... Got No Choice” is strongly reminiscent of pre-“The Unspoken King” CRYPTOPSY. The off-kilter tendencies continue on “A Vision For The Blind”, that marries a sleek groove with some curiously sloppy (?) tempo breaks, while “The Myopia Syndrome” starts out in rapid-fire Grind style before settling into a more steady groove during the latter half.
Seeing as how these guys have cut their teeth in a variety of other Death and Grind bands (most notably CEPHALECTOMY), it is no surprise that “Annihilation Foretold” sounds quite professional. There’s just enough variety on here to keep everything ticking along nicely but the band never overplays its collective hand. If you seek something unnecessarily technical and clinical then go listen to something like PSYOPUS. However, if you’re looking for a stellar Death/Grind album that is a little smarter than the norm, then you’d do well to check out SELECT AND DISMEMBER.
(Online May 20, 2012)