One’s taste for brutal death metal can often come down to just how much vomitous vocalizing one can handle. And Southern California’s Pathology boast one of the gnarlier, barfier vocalists in the game in Matti Way, long-ago frontman with, fittingly, Disgorge.
“Disgorging” is what Way does in every sense. His delivery seems like one prolonged heave from way deep down, interrupted only by the occasional gag, cough or belch. And, as such, his vocals are utterly unintelligible.
I’m assuming there are lyrics to be found on the band’s self-titled ninth album, but I don’t know as I’d put money on it. The cryptic, one-word song titles here – “Dolorous,” “Doth,” “Vermilion,” “Servitors” – don’t exactly give anything away, but at least they steer clear of the usual gory tropes.
Still, if there is something deep going on here – a la Cattle Decapitation, drummer Dave Astor’s old band – there’s really no way to tell. Way comes across like Mr. Creosote from “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” after that last “wafer thin” cookie sets off his projectile puke-a-thon, and gets right down to it from note one of the opening track “Lamentation.”
The band’s simple, groovy chug is the perfect accompaniment for Way’s emanations, lurching and heaving this way and that without getting all uber-technical or needlessly complicated. It’s corrosive, blunt-object death metal that offers few frills and maximizes the brutality.
Astor’s drumming does it’s best to approximate a rivet gun and Tim Tiszczenko riffs churn and grind with relentless glee, punctuated by meaty hooks that at times are outright catchy – in spite of Way’s ‘urping vocals. The elegant melodic lead break in the album’s finale “Vermillion” makes for a nice, if jarring, surprise. It’s a rare moment of beauty in an otherwise ceaseless display of ugliness.
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