For anyone not familiar with the Polish juggernauts Decapitated (there are a few left, honestly), here’s why death metal sounds different now. The titans of technically challenging death metal riffing quite literally blew everything and everyone apart with the now household name, Winds Of Creation. Emphasizing speed and technicality, the Poles still managed to create fierce and foreboding environments in which their virtuosity got to shine. Abnormality listen to Decapitated. Probably a bunch of other stuff too. It’s just the most obvious point of reference on their new record, Mechanisms Of Omniscience. A record with all the content but falling short on the creativity.
There’s absolutely no denying the skills of the musicians involved in this battering ram of modern death. Skills that are bound inherently to the slightly muddy, super pleasing production. The riffs are wicked and the throwback leads get a chance to tear through the six feet deep guitar tones; a classic death metal flourish that is a big point winner. It’s this guitar tone which brings back bittersweet memories of hearing some of the genre’s classic albums for the first time. A nasty, sweaty blanket that brings all kinds of comfort. The percussion does it’s job too, driving when ample force is required and carefully placing hits whenever a transition jumps in. Sure, there are a couple of duffed hits in there but it just adds to the wholly organic nature of the music. Pick any of these ten tracks to listen to and it’s going to be a good time. Listen to a few more and that exit sign will start to flash ever brighter.
There are only so many stop start riff switches that one human can take before the need for something more uniform takes hold. It’s great having a million ideas but trying to cram them all into forty minutes of music is straight up asking for trouble. That old expression, “too much of a good thing”, rarely applies to extreme music. This, you could say, is an Abnormality. Pun game on hold, there’s gold here, but just flecks of it. There are too many tracks and too many chopped and changed riffs to be truly engaging. Blame the ever shrinking attention span of today but it’s not enough to just have the chops anymore. The vocals for example. They are terrifying and guttural and all the other check list points crossed off in one fell swoop. Still though, they dominate the mix to a point where they get tiresome and actually kind of irritating. There are other members of the band to shine a light on.
Maybe it’s just an already flush year but Mechanisms Of Omniscience doesn’t quite slice the condiment. What keeps Abnormality out of the upper echelons of the genre is an inability to pull things back and let the gaps between notes shape into something more memorable. They do a great job of puffing out their cheeks in an honorable attempt at reinvigorating a death metal sound that is slowly being replaced by quantizing and processed sounds. It’s honorable in it’s own demise too, not throwing in any outside elements for the sheer hell of it. It’s just not enough to shout about.