A decade removed from their debut album, “Wet Sounds of Flesh on Concrete,” Detroit’s SAPROGENIC are back with their third full-length album, “Expanding Towards Collapsed Lungs,” an album that witnesses the tumescent growth of a band who knows Death Metal inside and out.
Where the debut was a grim and grimy dose of blue-collar brutality, the band’s follow-up, “Ichneumonid,” heard the band ratcheting up the production with wantonly gleeful effect, tipping the scales with an incensed final product filled with demented technicality and a Japanese whaling vessel-sized assortment of jagged driving hooks. It was an excellent sophomore release and a logically violent step towards what would eventually be their finest hour in this year’s stunningly good “Expanding Towards Collapsed Lungs.”
Musically speaking, SAPROGENIC are simply on-point. Their brand of Brutal Death Metal is fittingly technical, surgical in its execution, but there’s also an unfiltered ferocity on hand, one that keeps everything in a frenzied, often breathless pitch. Like some unholy marriage of DEVOURMENT’s latest (and entirely under-rated), “Conceived in Sewage,” and the debut LP from COPROCEPHALIC, the band’s take on Death Metal is rife with attitude and energy and played by skilled madmen who even dare take hold of DISSECTION’s “Night’s Blood” and promptly tear the living shit out of it, convincing this reviewer that, if SAPROGENIC so chose, they could take the epic-variety of Black Metal and give it one hell of a savage jolt.
But they don’t play Viking-inspired Black Metal. They play Brutal Death Metal with a concerted focus on rhythmic nuance that has more in common with a band like BLOOD RED THRONE than it does with a heavier, more technical act like DEEDS OF FLESH. In contrasting those two bands, SAPROGENIC falls dead-smack in the middle, bending their manic riffs with a flexibility that see many Tech Death bands emerging from the studio with arthritis. SAPROGENIC keep it loose, but they keep it heavy. Incredibly so. From the opening moments of “Removing a Phantom Limb,” to follow-ups like “Eat My Heart” or “Choking Victim,” the blazing, fast-forward beatings that ensue, all of which pour forth with a straight-forward malignity (a band that harbors the same knack for technical grooves), demand your fullest attention, forcing strike after strike of seething, nigh-delirious Death Metal deep down your gullet.
With so many strong releases from so many legends of the genre in 2013, it came as a bit of a surprise to hear SAPROGENIC practically playing ‘king of the mountain’ and booting them off one by one. Of course, pending on your preference of subgenre, an album like “Colored Sands” or “Deceiver of the Gods” may be your style, but it’s hard to deny how preposterously evil and insatiable “Expanding Towards Collapsed Lungs” comes off. I mean, holy shit, check out a track like “Navigating the Human Eye” or “Below Death” and get back to me. This album is a monster.
(Online November 30, 2013)