Released: 2007, Conquest Music
Reviewer: J. Campbell
Despite their obvious excellence, Monstrosity hasn’t been as universally recognized as many of their death metal peers. While being well-respected by most (and absolutely revered by many), they’ve never received the label support or media spotlight required to catapult them onto a greater audience. I am living proof of the effects of these injustices, as I’ve only recently tapped the vein of this veteran act, despite being a DM fan for years. SPIRITUAL APOCALYPSE is their latest declaration of dominance, a rock-solid monument of steadfast determination and brutal perfection.
Innovation and experimentation aren’t Monstrosity’s goals. This is meat-and-potatoes American DM, and despite their Tampa origin, their sound carries the traits of both the Florida and New York flavors. And SPIRITUAL APOCALYPSE is no mere Death Metal McMeal; it’s a blood-red Porterhouse feast saddled with an ice-cold pint and a shot of Jack. Monstrosity simply delivers the goods.
Thankfully eschewing the industry-standard 58 second throwaway intro, drummer Lee Harrison and company get straight to the point with the title track. Deft riffing and tasteful blasting dominate the song, deceptive in their mastery...not until the first of the album’s fiercely melodic solos emerges at the two-minute mark does the wickedness finally ‘click’. When “Firestorm” unleashes itself next, it breaks the fucking switch off in your ass. Vocalist Mike Hrubovcak proves that he’s got a serious set of lungs on him by expelling some obscenely long growls (if he can replicate these vocals live, I’ll be astonished) among his semi-intelligible dictations. His powerful voice carries the songs along with lumbering determination, and his importance is especially evident on the album’s centerpiece, “Remnants of Divination”. It’s not often that an album’s mid-tempo curveball is its highlight; but this combination of wrenching, anguished screams and devastating, lurching riffery is unquestionably awesome. The songwriting prowess that this band bleeds is simply too difficult to express in words; it must be heard to be grasped. Monstrosity know when to rein in their attack, and when to let it fly. Younger bands would do well to take note here, instead of wasting their time worshipping at the altars of unrelenting brutality and ludicrous technicality.
A couple of sick little fireworks pop up as the album progresses, most notably the Arghoslent-tinged gallop of “Sacred Oblivion”, but honestly, I could go on all day with the details. The bottom line is this: This destroys everything the other American heavyweights have churned out recently. Suffocation’s self-titled? Easily. KILL? Murders it. THE STENCH OF REDEMPTION? As much as it pains me to say it, SPIRTUAL APOCALYPSE knocks it out cold. For DM fans, this thing is mandatory. Even for those traditionalists out there who only buy one or two extreme metal releases a year, this should be at the top of the list. Support these veteran warriors of death…their time is now.