In Dark Purity
Released: 1999, Olympic Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
When I heard about this new album, I was overjoyed. But I then wondered how in the world Monstrosity would top their previous technical death masterpiece Millenium. I then discovered that not only had vocalist George Fisher left, but so did guitar god Jason Morgan. Then I REALLY wondered how they'd top Millenium! I had mixed feelings when getting my hands on this CD…but I couldn't resist!
First of all, I am impressed. Although it is nowhere near the technicality of Millenium, In Dark Purity sounds very refreshing. These guys shred away, playing classic brutal death metal effortlessly and fluently. New guitarist Tony Norman does an exceptional job, flailing all over his fretboard as if it was as easy as riding a bike. His leads are very thoughtful, brutal, and just brilliant. He comes damn close to matching the wizardry of former guitarist Jason Morgan. Regardless, Tony has filled Jason's shoes successfully. Bassist Kelly Conlon, who also played on Death's Symbolic, remains from the previous lineup. But the bass guitar really doesn't come through too well on this album, just as on Millenium. And everyone knows Corpsegrinder is now belching for Cannibal Corpse. His replacement is Jason Avery, who performs some great death vocals, however unoriginal they may be (but is there such thing as an original death vocalist nowadays?). And Lee Harrison? Well he busts his ass behind the drum kit, doing the usual quick double bass, spastic tom rolls, and spontaneous blast beats. But he also throws in some oddities here and there, giving the music that technicality it had on Millenium. These musicians prove that this album is as good as brutal death metal gets!
Remember how your favorite death metal albums used to begin with a little intro? Well so does In Dark Purity! Now this isn't anything to run home and tell grandma about, but it did bring me back to the glory days of death metal. "The Hunt", the intro under inspection, succeeds in building on that initial anxiety felt when popping the CD into the player for the first time. The opening riff and double bass in "Destroying Divinity" begins the onslaught, before a tasty blast beat careens into your cranium. The albums continues to burn your soul with its variety of riffs and tempos. Lee throws in some tasty, hi-hat spasms in "Shapeless Dominion"…not to mention some great cymbal crashes throughout the album. "The Angels Venom" features Monstrosity at their best…great blast beats, a variety of riffs, and killer harmony guitars! Nice harmony guitars are also present in "Suffering to the Conquered"…a song that reminds me very much of Disincarnate. But one of the main highlights on this album is the 13th track: "The Pillars of Drear". This instrumental is slow and doomy, with some great riffs, and leads…a prefect album closer. But wait, there's another track…a virtually flawless cover of Slayer's "Angel of Death". It is nice that this was included, instead of having to buy the forthcoming Slayer tribute CD just for this track, but this whole covers thing is getting pretty damn OLD.
In Dark Purity sounds very fresh amongst the stale death metal scene. This is probably the best death metal album I have heard in years, with the exception of Gorguts' Obscura. Death metal fans, you owe this one to yourself!