Monday, December 8, 2014

Catching Up With 2014-Dead Congregation : "Promulgation of the Fall"

I've heard every one and their head banger mother raving about this album all year, and I have tried to give it a listen and was not blown away, so now I am going to give it one last chance to see if this is really the best death metal band going today or if they are victims of their own hype. The album opens with a gritty enough tune. The low gnarly crunch of the guitar is thick as concrete. The solos are melodic and add a little depth, the low gurgle vocals are what they are and typical for this sort of thing. The drum sound is one factor not blowing my mind as they need to be more in my face. This is all pretty passable , but not yet the best.

 There is a little more melody lurking in thick seething grind they churning up. Some of the riffs are clever and catchy while being rough hewn. I can understand what people like about them, but there isn't anything original going on. It's pretty obvious I have broad enough taste in metal. In some genres there are more acts that appeal to me than others as I look for very specific things in music, darkness and dynamics being one. Death metal can come across rather flat when it comes to dynamics and I have been listening to death metal since "Leprosy" came out. So I have heard most of this done before. This is a conglomeration of death metal riffs I have heard from the 80's given a fresh coat of grim and spit back out at me.

The songs after the title track began to bleed together on me, I had to go back and see where one song began and the other ended. The reason for this being , all of their songs sound the same. They are variations on a theme . A very crushing theme. But they same monochrome shade of bloody carnage. Some of the reason for this is songs like "Serpent Skin" that blast by in a tumbling blur of blast beats, run flatly into the next chug with nothing, but a shift of riffs to define it. They work better at the slower more powerful chug. But can't use the restraint to milk those moment and go into blasts that sound like all their other blasts. They implement several Morbid Angel like punches along the way to accent things, but this is far from really making their songs say something with more than one feeling.

Sometimes this formula works well like the beginning of "Immaculate Poison" , but they default into taking the easy way out by just mindlessly blasting.It does nothing to further the song or have a point.At times it only sets up a slower chug of a more interesting riff that is laying the ground work for the solo to come. When a song like "Nigredo" tumbles out of the speeding pound these Greeks dish out, it almost becomes white noise. There is nothing to even distinguish it as a song.

On "Schisma" they really take a page from Morbid Angel's book. Though the insane blasting reminds me more of Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse. The solo sections are way more melodic than something Cannibal Corpse would do. They end up taking the speed demon addiction way to far and lose all musical feel. This blasting tantrum continues into "From a Wretched Womb" that closes out the album. It's just way too straight ahead for me, it gets into the really flat sounding snare hit that I dislike in death metal until it slows down, into a more doom like tempo that is not maintained for longer before it collides with the speed, but at least this comes about in a slightly more interesting

They fail at the golden rule around here, "cool riffs alone do not make a good song" the album sounds good, it might even grow a little on me, but the new Incantation scratches this itch and it can't come close to the new Mortuary Drape, I think just clicking through the blog you can find at least three other death metal albums that will score higher than the 6.5, I'm giving this one, just off the basis of it's dark dense sound and sheer aggression.

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