Review: Working in a style of metal where it is easier to become self-indulgent and irrelevant than clear, Capharnaum wrest from death metal a technicality and precision that lets them build it into a form of cyclic jazz where riff structures re-emerge as harmonic patterns.
These players are highly insightful and intelligently tasteful in the application of their skills, relying on rock-solid and creative drumming to anchor a series of high-end riffs which come from the metal, jazz and blues camps equally. Varied chord voicings, complex harmonizations and propulsive but often too conveniently bouncy rhythms populate these songs. Also one of the finest usages of pure death metal vocals here separates this release from bands distancing themselves from extreme metal.
A large Iron Maiden-style influence plays into the guitar work with an emphasis on harmony and contrapuntal rhythmic structures, letting a smashing death metal riff easily coexist in the same rhythmic promontory as a speed metal-style frantic recursive lead, while the melodic fusion permits a central line from which harmonies can be expanded to allow textural death for soloing.
Lead guitar playing also deserves a mention, in that Capharnaum bests industry standards like Meshuggah and Dream Theater by using very tasteful and deliberate solos that avoid the kind of noodling that makes technical music tedious. The sense of tone and rhythm portrayed in the lead guitar playing here gestures depth and systematic approach toward composition while at the same time retaining spontaneity.
The cerebral nature of this album does not balance the frenetic, leaving a rough and somewhat epileptic view of existence that is surprisingly similar to the balance of beauty and corruption in life. With a handful of pounding riffs and an ongoing line of heavily creative supporting composition, this music does not fail to deliver a mentally-stimulating experience of death metal intensity.