Released: 2011, Siege of Amida
When a high-profile act like Morbid Angel capitulates as spectacularly as the Floridian death metallers did on their last outing, it's almost a given that certain quarters of the music industry will look to drive the stake that little bit deeper wherever and whenever they can. Still, as much as I wasn't a fan of ILLUD DIVINUM INSANUS, even the band's vocal detractors would be hard pressed to deny that casting them as the proverbial metallic manure in label press releases smacks not only of sour grapes, but also of desperation.
A shining example of such ill-advised PR bluster can be found accompanying Ichor's latest full length. By claiming that BENTHIC HORIZON, the German outfit's sophomore outing, is the album that Morbid Angel wishes they had written, Siege of Amida haven't done the band any favours - both by setting exceptionally high expectations and by comparing them to a band they are really quite different from. For one thing, every one of the eleven tracks you will hear on this disc has a distinctly modern flavour. That means plenty of over-the-top technicality, loads of blasting drums and more than a subtle splash of breakdowns. You won't hear any Azagtoth-style guitar solos either, nor indeed does vocalist Eric even faintly resemble the enunciated style of David Vincent.
That being said, the record is really rather good. Despite being devoid of any originality, this style of death metal is one the Germans pull off with ferocious dedication, meaning that even if you feel you've heard it all before, chances are good it'll be a welcome surprise all the same.