Released: 2004, Comatose Music
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
"'Essense of Brutality'--new from Estee Lauder!"
This is, in actuallity, a Joe Payne solo project. Joe, of course, is a touring guitarist for Nile, as well as a founding member of underrated East Coast Death Metallers, Lust Of Decay. Having reviewed the most recent records by Lust Of Decay, and Nile, I concluded that this just might be sublime.
Well, I overestimated it a tad--but it's far from sub-par. Diehard genre fans, as well as the "Musician Class" of Death Metallers, will love this. Others might want to wait for something foreign with face-paint.
This is difficult to describe to the uninitiated. It is essentially a highly technical exercise in Brutal Death Metal, not unlike Origin or Brodequin. It certainly has it's moments--"Self Destructive Malevolence" is as a good a Brutal Death tune as you'll ever hear. And there are two--count 'em ,two--songs about rats. I guess you go with what you know. (Ironically, "Bit By a Rat" is followed by a song called "Cleanse The Flesh." Think about it.)
The vocals have a decent snarl and grumble to them. The rhythms are tight as nun cunts, and churn like Quakers making butter. The drumming is a highlight. It manages to be "progressive" without being random and tuneless. "Terminal Gluttony" is a fantastic show-piece for drummer Varela (Lividity). At times, the guy sounds down-right automated, like Vader--more machine than man.
The production overall is fine, if not a little stiff--a good comparison would be the darkly confined sound of Council Of The Fallen's debut, or perhaps Spawn Of Possession. It isn't bad, by any means--and pretty damn good, by indie standards. It carries a warm, almost analog feel, that--when contrasted with the technical precision in which the riffs and rhythms are delivered--actually salvages the album's atmosphere, more times than not, by sheer virtue of dichotomy. Given a high-tech, mechanized big-budget gloss, this would sound much like Decapitated. Take that as you will.
Otherwise, this threatens to be faceless, caught in the mire of 1000 Morbid Angel clones, and a thousand more pretenders to the Cannibal Corpse skull-throne. Brutal Death fans already bored with Blood Red Throne, and find bands like Necrophagist too high-fallutin' and cerebral, might want to check this out. It's insanely technical, fast, and slams from track to track. And if that sounds like Heaven in Hell to your Old School-loving soul, pick this up from Comatose, and support the local scene.
With the collective careers of Payne and Varela on the uptick, this might be a collector's item soon.