Originally written by Erik Thomas
So here is the fifth album from The Locust / Cattle Decapitation drummer Dave Astor’s brutal death metal project, and he’s got yet another line up. This time vocalist Jon Huber (I Declare War) replaces Matti Way (Disgorge, Liturgy) and new guitarist Kevin Swartz joins the fold, and these additions seem to have given Pathology the injection they needed and an improved album over their Victory debut, Legacy of the Ancients.
While I still question the presence of Pathology (and Jungle Rot, for that matter) on Victory Records (even more so in light of the label’s wretched recent releases by the likes of The Bunny The Bear, Design the Skyline and Victorian Halls), but Pathology is making the most of it, and they deliver a pretty solid slab of knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, slammy brutality that makes no pretenses of being anything but.
First off, Huber’s vocals will deter or arouse most — he delivers a super-, super-low indecipherable grunt, gurgle and squeal that’s almost comical at times, if it weren’t for the chosen genre and the rest of the music’s considerable heft. But my guess is that fans of brutal death metal and slam death will be OK with this. Then the production of Daniel Castleman (Lambesis Studios) — more known for his metalcore and deathcore production (As I Lay Dying, War of Ages, Winds of Plague etc) — delivers a very impressive yet clean girth that’s not as muddy or messy as most brutal/slam death. Thusly the many, many rumbling grooves and moments of slammy heft are actually discernable and crystal clear.
And to top it off, as with Legacy of the Ancients, Pathology has a very sly sense of melody amid the rumbling, gurgling salvo of brutality. While most of the album effectively and efficiently blasts, slams and gurgles with the best of them (“Dissected by Righteousness”, “Hostility Towards Conformity”, “Emesis” etc), a few tracks like “Media Consumption”, “Prolonging the Suffering” ,“Humanity’s Cesspool” and “Opposing Globalization” throw in a slick solo or a melodic riff that, while sticking out in the style, is surprisingly competent and gives a little extra something to the brutality. And it’s no surprise that those tracks are the album’s best cuts.
Not quite the amicable brutal death metal that I labeled the last album, as Huber is downright sick, Pathology is a still a solid and surprisingly adept and enjoyable example of an otherwise rather boring two-trick genre.