A little while back, I decided to write a review series covering Pathology’s complete discography. That is, except their debut, which I couldn’t find until two weeks ago. But now that I’ve listened to this landmark that’s the first album of one of the most famous bands that have always had the super underground brutal death sound, I think it’s fair to say that it’s nothing like I was expecting. Released through one of my favorite record labels, Amputated Vein, Surgically Hacked now has a place in my collection which makes my Pathology section complete! Honestly, I was expecting something a lot like my favorite Pathology album, Incisions of Perverse Debauchery. But instead, I was met with a much more underground and premature sound (which answers the question why there’s only three or so critics that have reviewed this album besides myself).
I’m going to be honest; this album is going to be pretty hard to enjoy if you’re not already an experienced brutal death listener that has had bands like Guttural Secrete and Devourment desensitize you with their unmatched brutality. Surgically Hacked isn’t Pathology’s most brutal album, but it certainly has the most traces of grindcore. The grindcore part of it is relevant in the song lengths and the seemingly random speed blasts that make the songs flyby like lightning, making the album sound like it’s over in seconds. Either that’s the case, or I have weird perception issues with this album, because it feels really short every time I listen to it. Let’s look into the technical part of it.
When you listen to the album as a whole, the drums sound exactly how they should. But when you mentally strip the other elements away and leave the drums by themselves (in other words focus on the drums and block everything else out), the different drum patters seem randomly generated and out of place. But that’s the case in a lot of metal albums, where each part individually sounds horrible yet they fit perfectly when put together. There really isn’t anything special about the guitars other than that it’s completely generic brutal death styles and riffs being played. The problem I’m having with this record is the amount of treble the overall band has; it’s overpowering. I have to listen to this album on my fancy headphones that have tons of bass in order to play this at higher volumes without hurting my ears.
I’m glad the vocals are buried by the rest of the band because they kind of suck. After hearing the really moist guttural growls from Incisions of Perverse Debauchery and the growls from the song Code Injection, these inhaled growls are fucking shitty compared to that. But when you compare this album to the majority of albums with this style, they come off as being plain and generic. They don’t suck, but there isn’t anything too special about them. It seems like there’s a lot of negativity in this review considering that I gave this a 15/20 score. The reason why I like this album is because the band lays out the grindcore influence perfectly. The pure chaos and brutality of this grincore-influenced brutal death album gets me really energized after a couple of listens. Like I said before, this album is for pure fans of brutality and people curious to hear what underground brutality sounds like.
I can’t hear any bass at all, and that’s the big reason why I don’t like this album as much as Incisions of Perverse Debauchery. If there were at least SIGNS of a lower end, I would be much happier; because brutal death is nothing without tons of crushing bass. Overall, this album isn’t bad at all. Despite its flaws in several sections, when you look at this piece of chaos as a whole, it’s one hell of a record that is a must-have for all fans of slamming brutality. I would rate this album 15/20 (75%).