Saturday, 18 June 2011

Amputation Spree – Terminal Velocity (Tex's Review)

     When I saw the band name, EP title and song titles I was ready for some brutal old school gorefest that would leave me squealing like a recently defiled schoolgirl. That turned out not to be the case, but what we have here is a decent work of modern “brutal” death metal.

     The main problem with this release is the severe lack of riffs. A lot of the time the songs are comprised of a few chords either chugging along or ringing out over a mid to slow paced drum beat, even trudging dangerously close to “breakdown” territory. I’m assuming this is where the band gets its “brutal” moniker from, but for me this kind of riffing (or lack thereof) is just jarring rather than heavy or brutal and serves mostly to derail the good ideas in the songs.

     Thankfully there are a lot of good ideas on this EP. Some great ones in fact! The use of synths in both “Third World Genocide Machine” and “Sudden Monolithic Realization of Chaos and Suffering” were a great unexpected touch that lends these songs some atmosphere while lending an epic flavour reminiscent of the use of synth in works by Nile and Nocturnus. These are also subsequently the best tracks on the EP, the latter containing a fantastic melodic solo section that I wish wasn’t so low in the mix or bookended by chuggy breakdowns. The absolute highlight of the EP is the vocal work which is truly brutal, consistent and professional sounding throughout the entire release.

     Unfortunately, the really great sections are hampered by the aforementioned lack of riffs, a plodding pace throughout and some bizarre choices in song structure. The artwork of the EP made me instantly think there might be some Human era Death style writing and structure going on here, but when the songs get unconventional they get clunky and almost lost. Especially bewildering is the fade-out-fade-in parts in “Addicting to Beheading Children Part II” (10 bonus points for this song title, btw). The first time it seemed kind of original and cool, even if a little oddly placed, but having it several times in one song just doesn’t work.

     While I may seem pretty critical, the parts that are good really are quite good, and the parts that aren’t don’t ruin the EP, even if they are abundant. While it completely defied my expectations and isn’t really the kind of death metal I’m into, with time and refinement this band could put out something really cool.

Tex's review:  65%

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