With ANGELCORPSE having been laid to rest (again) and VITAL REMAINS seemingly opting for the Axl Rose method of (not) releasing albums, some band had to start stoking the fires of evil again. Stepping into the breach is none other than the recently reunited Dutch Death Metal machine CENTURIAN, who are primed to cause some major damage with their new album “Contra Rationem”.
Described by guitarist Rob Oorthuis as an “adversive [sic] album in the broadest sense of the word”, “Contra Rationem” is perhaps the dictionary definition of an all-out assault on the senses. This is 29 minutes of sonic savagery that rends flesh and breaks bones from the get-go. If you’re looking for playful or progressive Death Metal then you best look elsewhere, as this band’s violent MORBID ANGEL worship is so predictable and precise that you could design an algorithm around it. By all accounts this should be a rather bland experience, but somehow it works.
Scuttling both substance and style, “Contra Rationem” opts for speed and intensity above all else. Whether it’s the KRISIUN-like speeds of “Thou Shalt Bleed for the Lord Thy God”, the sparse (yet wicked) grooves of “Crown of Bones” or the bizarre sing-along quality of the chorus on “Antinomian”, the album barely lets up. The only moment of respite is found right at the tail-end of the album, where the band slows down a bit on “Adversus”, which allows for an almost Black Metal-like atmosphere to start seeping into proceedings. Other than that this album presents the listener with nothing but spine-splitting aggression.
The vocal delivery of Seth Van de Loo is crucial to the album, as his somewhat sneered growls injects so much vileness into the songs that one cannot help but appreciate the repulsive beauty of it all. These guys have been at this lightning-fast and ultra-Satanic kick throughout their career, even during the time they went under the NOX moniker, and the fact that they still manage to pull it off with this much conviction and precision is nothing to scoff at. Sure, there is absolutely nothing fancy or even all that interesting about this album, but if no-nonsense Death Metal is your chosen poison then this album will meet all your sadistic needs quite nicely. Just remember to put on full body armour before pressing play.
(Online May 2, 2013)