Review: Florida death metal delivered us from the tedium of "cute" and "technical" death metal by simply bashing our heads in with a staggered sequence of recursive rhythms expressing a thematic confluation between two oppositional ideas into a consonance of disharmony. Monstrosity are the wave of that destruction.
1. Imperial Doom
2. Definitive Inquisition
3. Ceremonial Void
4. Immense Malignancy
5. Vicious Mental Thirst
6. Burden of Evil
7. Horror Infinity
8. Final Cremation
9. Darkest Dream
While this seems like a lot for a bunch of guys with tattoos, they are intelligent, as manifested by the "simple" complexity of structures, where they have distilled what it is they mean to communicate into ideas so well-defined variations, Slayer-style, offer no detours but complement the overall theme. Melodies here are reductively simplified, in the style of rock harmonies, but overall they follow a vocal complement that is not entirely monotone. Vocals however are savage and low-end in a thoroughly definitive and violent sense.
All-stars populate this album, from Cynic and Death guitarist Jason Goebbel on guitars with Jon Rubin, later of Malevolent Creation. Their presence is felt in their formative works, which although rough and only partially conceptualized in some places, exhibit a tremendous impetus toward exuberant explosions of violence and stampeding riffs. There's a fair amount of technical, but what makes this impressive is its sheer violence.
Traces of vestigial influence can be heard in this music, with an influence of heavy metal almost in the lines of Blood Feast or Death, but a large degree of classic death metal lexicon from Slayer to Master to Morbid Angel and beyond. Although not highly refined, this music knows what it wants to say and bashes it out with profound and anger and blissful morbidity.
Review: Somehow a bouncy speed metal band, a blasting death metal band, and a fast and wily progressive minded abstract metal band at the same time, Monstrosity pull together a demo tape of three tracks that delivers the rhythmic brutality for which the Florida act is famous, laying underneath the violent codes of motion a patina of complexities that distinguish these compositions.
The speed metal faction reminds me of Demolition Hammer, Exodus, Exhorder or Deicide, the bands that can put bounce into their strum and work relatively happy drumbeats into oblivious violence; a comparison to Deicide’s Legion would not be unfair if it is said as well that the Monstrosity material holds together more cohesively, and has the sense of being composed and then played rather than composed onto recorded material. All of the rhythms are here, from the pounding stops to choruses or the chanting blasts of verses, and are encoded finely in the very fast strumming that frequent Monstrosity use to integrate small visions of melody into the harmonic structure of their songs.
3. Slaves and Masters
The flexibility of the band to break out of rhythms and patterns and to shift or leave entirely the tendencies of the music to produce a more expressive statement builds a tension of ambiguity under music that subtly coopts the established patternology of its genre in modifications, overlays, and inversions. In the right-hand rhythms of this guitarist there is some hint of the more intense rhythmic offsets and counterpoints of Morbid Angel, where in the drums comes an intense cyclic-rhythm technicality that avoids being detached from the overall motion of the song.
There is one guitarist on this recording, but the motion of pattern change is so intense the floods of scales and bent notes he strings out for solos are almost as unnecessary as their placement suggests. His work is not bad, but it is extended architectural soloing rather than soloing that is pattern-intense in its own right. Vocals provide another level of pattern layering in their intense rhythms and dark timbres as provided by now-Cannibal-Corpse-vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher.
The majestic power of Monstrosity is the ability of this music to be gut-level pleasing death metal at the same time it is compositional communication. These three songs give a limited picture of what an album might be like but a definitive picture of a band at one point in time. Monstrosity, P.O. Box 1343, Inglewood FL 34295-1343.
Review: Death metal strikes back in an album that fuses old styles with the coming dimensions of the genre, integrating pieces of every genre in modern metal into the process with a definitive, encompassing, paradigm of this difficult art form.
Monstrosity come from the style of bands relying on emphatic rhythm and coordinated palm-muted percussion riffing to bring definitive emphasis to their music, yet move freely in the language of the death metal genre, invoking pieces of songs implied by standard styles, but interpreted anew in the heavily architectural textural language of their music. Each song carries a simple virus, a vocal-rhythmic phrase which lurks behind the array of pieces thrown toward the listener, each sub-section of song carrying a subinterpretation of the virus. In a mosaic of mirrors rising latticelike over the base conception of the meme a network of substructures pattern detail upon the ideal reflected from within.
5.Fragments of Resolution
7.Slaves and Masters
8.Mirrors of Reason
10.Seize of Change
In rhythm guitar power chord patterns blast out dominant themes while extra harmonic coloring varies the riff toward or away from major tonal themes; lead guitar splashes a mutating, twisting, living reaction across a geometry of notes arranged in planes of chords. Behind it in a violent framework of percussion, hard snares ride vocal rhythms with creative fills bringing each phrase to a close.
Many traditions of metal culminate in some form during this music. From speed metal comes the harmonic experimentation within traditionalism, melody, and power-muffled riffing that pervades the technical powerhouses of this album, and from death metal comes the architectural structures and discriminate precision of each player. Vocals are powerful death metal guttural roaring intonations, far from monotone and laden with texture; more importantly than any single attribute, however, is the fusion of these in an album that is powerful, musically analytical and creative at the same time, and despite invocation of tradition something refreshingly new, dedicated to the ripping freedom that is the hallmark of spirited death metal.
Review: Thundering death metal always their forte, Monstrosity have pounded an album that reflects 1991's "Imperial Doom" in its focus and aggressive rhythmic attack but develops a refinement to intricate, precise playing and complexity even within a relatively conventional song structural system.
1. The Hunt
2. Destroying Divinity
3. Shapeless Domination
4. The Angels Venom
5. All Souls Consumed
6. Dust to Dust
7. Suffering to the Conquered
8. The Eye of Judgement
9. Perpetual War
10. Embraced by Apathy
11. Hymns of Tragedy
12. In Dark Purity
13. The Pillars of Drear
14. Angel of Death (Slayer cover)
Lead riffing sometimes ventures into the up and down soloing that has made much of metal boring, but that is relatively rare, and the main focus is an Eddie Van Halen turned-evil emphasis on offtime rhythm, like Meshuggah with more tasteful brutality in pummeling. Riffs themselves run a gamut of influences from speed metal to black metal, with a sense of melody that is purely the maturation of death metal into a technical art. Often key song structures are dispatched with postmodern blasts or melodic inversions, in something in the sense of Slayer or Bathory, but the reliance upon and exaltation in the blast beat and its components glorifies this music as death metal with all of the fervor it must possess to execute its transferrence of vision.
Two hands play the guitar, one fretting and one strumming, in most death metal technique and Monstrosity master that latter hand with a delicate yet delicious energy that delivers internal textures to these riffs that transcend direct for a surreality of textures. While they incorporate many heavy metal elements, including lead guitar, that influence remains a part of Tampa-style death metal and in their heritage and brought to effect here it is in more significant effect than in say, Dream Theater or Opeth. Mythological in its dynamics, thunderous in its sound, and precise in its playing and structure, this is an album to celebrate the continuation of death metal as theory and violent practice.