Released: 2000, Solid State
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
One thing’s for certain when you pick up a new Living Sacrifice album: heaviness! Ten years ago we were blessed with a self-titled brutal thrash assault that many criticized as being a Slayer rip off for all of its aggression brilliant riffing that The Haunted only wishes they would have written. Then the band shifted gears towards death metal and came up with Nonexistent featuring the sickest vocals ever recorded (forget John Tardy and Martin van Drunen!). Feeling comfortable with their new direction, Living Sacrifice pushed onwards offering Inhabit, chock full of discordant hellish riffs accompanied by some new, different, and disturbing death vocals. But then with the acquisition of a new vocalist, the band shifted gears once again and released Reborn, an album many criticized for sounding too hardcore-ish, which boggles my mind because aside from the vocals bordering on hardcore, the music was as fierce as always, and of course, it was truly heavy! So with Living Sacrifice undergoing healthy transformations between albums, it may come as a surprise that The Hammering Process doesn’t sound too far off from where the band left off after Reborn. That’s not to say they’ve stagnated though. Hell no! They’ve continued to “progress” (ah yes, there’s everyone’s favorite word), but their overall style is reminiscent of Reborn.
The music still has that heavy Living Sacrifice sound. The start/stop Meshuggah-type odd-timed riffing and drumming, first explored on Reborn, reappears here. And although the songs aren’t as abrasive as those on the previous album, a new dimension has been added with the recruitment of percussionist Matthew Putman. And this is where most of the band’s progression stems from, pushing that Meshuggah-like style towards a Sepultura Chaos A.D./Roots vibe. But no fear: Matthew hasn’t oversaturated the songs with percussion, nor does the band merely rip off Sepultura just as they don’t merely rip off Meshuggah. Another new aspect of the music lies in vocalist Bruce Fitzhugh, as he’s successfully attempted some cleaner vocals parts in a couple songs.
Overall, I expected an impressive album, and that’s what I got. Anyone that likes their metal gritty and plain heavy would do well by at least giving these guys a listen. And keep in mind that while you may not like one Living Sacrifice album, you might like another, since they’ve traveled a winding path the last ten years. Thankfully Solid Sate has reissued the first three albums! While you’re at it, browse on over to their web site at: http://www.livingsacrifice.com/
And hey, http://www.mp3.com
has a couple Living Sacrifice songs, both of which are demo versions of songs that ended up on The Hammering Process!