Album: Self Titled
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Review by Steve Jenkins
Say what you want about Pathology (or the brutal death metal scene in general), these guys know their trade. One of their biggest strengths is their sense of self-awareness as a band, not even attempting to think outside the box and just sticking to what they know they do best – no frills brutal death metal. Yes, their music does become pretty stagnant when played over any extended period of time, given the derivative nature of the material. However, Pathology’s musical brevity is their biggest strength, trickling just enough variation in between their 2-3 minute arrangements to maintain the listeners attention, regardless of the lack of innovation. With their latest Self Titled album, it comes as absolutely no surprise they’ve done nothing new, and the album is all-the-more better off because of it.
On this album, Pathology have gone from strength to strength, incorporating variations and technical flourishes within the ultra-heavy framework of the sub-genre. Nine full length albums have cemented their position worldwide as one of the best bands of their genre, and their new one will only uphold their global status and take it higher. On their latest opus, we have 10 songs of cutting-edge chock-a-block brutality without any intros or beating around the bush; and yet each song has its own identity largely due to the composition skills of the members. High speed execution is matched perfectly by the standard-setting guttural vocals of Matti Way who is in best form since the early Disgorge days. All in all, this is a contemporary death metal beast that remains true to its art and will go down as one of the best albums in the style for years to come.
Those who are fans of Pathology’s previous albums can rest assured there are no twists or shocks that will send their brutal minds into disarray. None of these songs extend far beyond 3 minutes in length, which is all these guys need to cram a sufficient number of catchy riffs to sate someone’s desire for a bit of mindless, metallic fun. There are grooves and slams in abundance, with vocals so guttural they could only have been muttered by a man who drinks smoothies made of cement. In comparison to their previous two albums, the vocals are a stark improvement. This is thanks to long time vocalist Matti Way returning to the mic, ditching Jonothan Huber’s annoying pseudo-pig squeal for a much more, I guess you could say, “brutal” vocal delivery. Instrumentally, the album is a standard Pathology affair. There’s probably no point in telling you the album is a blast-fest in every sense of the term, with some fairly heavy bass drum abuse to boot. The album also features a smattering of infectious, mid-tempo slam riffs that are sure to have you grooving throughout the entirety of the album. These are spaced out well enough by a number of technical flashes, lingering power chords and brief stints of tremolo picking, because variety is obviously the spice of Pathology’s life. But that’s exactly why Pathology’s formula works so well. Sarcasm aside, you have to give these guys credit for understanding their strengths and not branching out into ostentatious bullshit that would only sound out of place on one of their records.
Nobody could honestly vouch for this being a lyrical or song-writing masterpiece, but it’s hard to accuse Pathology of any wrongdoing either. The album serves its purpose with consummate ease, providing a healthy dose of mindless fun for your average brutal death fan. Genre conservatives will obviously attack it virulently and say Pathology need to diversify, but the truth is these guys have a formula that works and provides practically limitless material. When a band release a self-titled album, usually it goes down as one of their most recognizable and important releases, and this is Pathology doing what they do best – a heavy, infectious and easily digestible slab of brutal death metal, prepared and ready for consumption with no surprises contained within.
7.5 out of 10 stars.
Self Titled by Pathology is out now via Comatose Music.
For fans of - Abominable Putridity, Suffocation, Disgorge, Disentomb, Cattle Decapitation and Aborted.