Perdition of the Sublime is the debut album from Germany’s Sophicide. Sophicide is a technical death metal band originally formed as a one-man project by Adam Laszlow (though now it’s a duo, after the addition of guitarist Sebastian Bracht). Fans of Necrophagist will find this story familiar. No doubt the two bands have similar origins and perform music that falls within the same arbitrary genre classification. In addition, both bands feature amazing feats of musicianship. However, where Necrophagist’s music is rigid and at least a little masturbatory, Sophicide’s music has a more organic flow, and while the playing is certainly stunning, it serves a greater musical purpose. There are a billion notes on Perdition of the Sublime, but Sophicide wastes not a one.
On Perdition of the Sublime melody is king, or perhaps more accurately, melody is God. The conventional components of death metal riffing are all present, but they exist primarily as a framework over, around and through which Bracht and Laszlow weave a tapestry of melodies. Some of these melodic threads weave small complex designs that draw attention, while others form larger, more subtly wrought patterns that tie a song together. In both capacities, melody serves to render each composition distinct from its fellows.
There is a progressive lean to Perdition of the Sublime; Sophicide’s compositions are more adventurous than the average “chug and sweep”. The band experiments with dissonance, forays into both djent and industrial territory, and makes excellent use of acoustic guitars and, on a few occasions, samples. None of these devices, however, are used to excess; they enhance the album, without obscuring its essential death metal-ness.
On Perdition of the Sublime, there is next to no compositional dead space; the songs move from one ear-catching riff to the next. Furthermore, Sophicide never gets carried away with itself, keeping most of the tracks in the four-minute range. So, while there is a lot of brilliant music to digest on this album, the band cuts it up into easy to swallow pieces.
If forced to enumerate the exceptional among the exceptional, I would guide your ears to the following tracks: “Of Lust and Vengeance” features one of the albums best grooves, not in an iron-fisted breakdown, but in the serpentine lines of the tracks middle-eastern flavored acoustic intro. The title track is notable for a solo section that borders on ridiculous, in the best possible sense. For a full minute, the guitarists embark on a dual-lead shred odyssey that is, for all intents and purposes, a song unto itself. “Freedom of Mind” also features a mind-blowing solo and some stuttering, almost electronic-sounding riffs that resemble something from Tom Morello’s playbook.
The truth is Sophicide is a far better band than I am a writer. Perdition of the Sublime is an embarrassment of musical riches, and spending the past few weeks trying to sum it up in words has brought me to the brink of madness and despair. So in the absence of more eloquent words, I must plainly state that Perdition of the Sublime is a damn good record, sure to appeal to fans of technical death metal and of great musicianship in general.