Let’s be honest – most supergroups turn out to be a huge disappointment. We either get a bunch of genre greats record together with very little chemistry and churn out a half-assed album at best, or just try to worship the past as closely as they can (Bloodbath and Gruesome anyone?) This collective led by visual artist/song writer Nader Sadek is one to buck the trend though. Cryptopsy, Cattle Decapitation, ex-Decapitated and ex-Mayhem members are joined by session musicians from Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura, ex-Death and Ava Inferi and the end result is a great take on modern death metal.
The guitarwork is outstanding throughout the album – Blasphemer may be most well known for the twisted sound of Mayhem, but both his technical riffs and his twisted solos sound fantastic. Whether the fast razor-wire assaults of Carrion Whispers, the furious solos of Entropy Eternal or the slow twisted sound of the aptly titled Descent, it’s a good performance throughout. Flo Mounier’s lightspeed blastbeats are as intense as ever, giving it the high octane adrenaline rush that gives this potent brand of death metal that extra edge. Special praise though is reserved for vocalist Travis Ryan, his range is brilliant. Whether the harsh guttural barks he uses most of the album, the incredibly deep growling on Descent or the high pitched shrieks he’s known for in Cattle Decapitation he sounds fantastically evil throughout. And the three bassists on different tracks, all lend their unique style, with Alex Webster’s typical explosive rumble on opener Deformation by Incision, the superb twang of Olivier Pinard on Carrion Carnage, and permanent member Martin Rygiel completely grinds, and it gives all the tracks a different feel. The production does sound a little too modern and crisp at points and it could have done with being rawer and warmer, but that does little to mar the fact that the music here is great.
When it comes to the songs, Carrion Carnage is a riff heavy joyride, those fast riffs sweep up and down brilliantly, while the slower section with it’s picked chords is a good change in pace for, and the twanging bass gives a thick low end to the whole thing. Entropy Eternal is the best pick of the bunch, that incredible intro solo kicking the track off in style before Travis’ brilliant stop-start barks come in against a sea of high octane blasts and technical riffage. THREE more solos come in throughout the track and each is as exciting as the last, with intense fretboard wizardry. Descent is a change of pace for the EP, sounding more like the slower elements of Cattle Decapitation, especially with Troy’s higher pitched rasps, and the switch between tempos throughout the song is done flawlessly, moving from slow picked chords to doomy riffs.
The clean production takes a little shine off of it, but it’s still a really enjoyable piece of technical death metal, and alongside Seprevation’s Consumed has some of the best death metal solos of the year so far. It’s not just good for a supergroup, it’s recommended highly for any fans of modern death metal.
The Malefic: Chapter III will come as a free CD with Decibel Magazine #112 and Terrorizer Magazine #254
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