Friday, October 5, 2012

Pathology - The Time of Great Purification


The brutal death genre seems to have two basic styles: the somewhat more technical, complex, and innovative style that usually have exhaled vocals. Some bands that I would consider to fall into that category would be Suffocation, Nile, Hate Eternal, Vital Remains, and Cryptopsy. Then we have the much harsher and less-appreciated kind of brutal death that is known for its inhaled vocals, bombarding blast beats, crushing breakdowns, and its more-or-less lack of intention to push the boundaries of the genre. Some of the most popular bands that play that style include Devourment, Cephalotripsy, Putrid Pile, Cerebral Bore, Disgorge, and the two most famous bands from there: Pathology and Aborted. I can definitely see how people wouldn’t consider Aborted to be one of those “slamming brutality” kinds of bands because of their experimentation and the less-brutal sound two of their albums have, but I would still consider them to be there with those other bands.

Unlike Aborted, Pathology doesn’t feel the need for experimentation and progression because they are just fine at what they’re doing now. They’re kind of like Motorhead in the sense that they’ve been playing the exact same thing for their entire career, yet it never seems to get old and dry. The sound that Pathology has created has been crafted so well that it has created a (seemingly) endless amount of possible songs without TOO much repetition. Also, the stuff that Pathology plays may be somewhat difficult to PLAY at times (for those of you that like to play covers), but obviously, they’re not that fucking hard to write. Why is that obvious? Well, let’s take a quick second to look at the fact that they’ve released an album every year since 2008. That’s a good strategy so that they can easily craft catchy and brutal songs in a short amount of time to keep listeners interested. And fortunately, that plan doesn’t seem to have failed quite yet.

One thing that really bothered me about their first few albums is that they had a different vocalist every album. This isn’t good for me because the sound of the vocals is part of what helps me connect with the band the most. If a band switches vocalists too often, I feel like I’m listening to a different band each time. If a band has a vocalist for two or more albums at a time, that’s fine. So I’m glad that they’ve been able to hold together a consistent lineup for more than two albums in a row.

Although they pull it off extremely well, I wouldn’t consider Pathology as being one of the best bands at writing those really fast bombarding parts with blast beats, tremolo picking, and just pure chaos. What Pathology is GREAT at is writing those fucking catchy songs that are a little on the slow side, but are perfect headbanging tracks, my favorite being Code Injection from Legacy of the Ancients. For me, those kinds of tracks that stick out to me the most on The Time of Great Purification are A Bleak Future and Tyrannical Decay. Tyrannical Decay’s highlight is the catchy attention-snatching intro. I LOVE the combination of the steady double-kicking with a snare hit every so often with the slightly slower guitar-chugging. I just can’t help but headbang to that intro! This is something that pops up every so often in the song. You want something that has an even more crushing and catchy sound with crushing breakdowns and headbanging sections? A Bleak Future is the song that thee wants.

A Bleak Future takes the listener back to the sound that many of the songs from Legacy of the Ancients have. This somewhat slower, but much darker and heavier sound is what Pathology does BEST. And I LOVE how they DON’T only do that because it should be the gem in the sand of an album, not the whole thing, because it has the capability of getting old WAY too fast. Another thing that The Time of Great Purification has more of than any other Pathology record is guitar solos. That was the thing that I noticed in last year’s Pathology record, Awaken to the Suffering; the amount of guitar solos had taken a sharp increase. The solos don’t seem super melodic or epic and they’re not outright shredding either. They’re just…solos. I don’t even know how to describe them! It’s not that they’re really bad or really good (in fact, they’re neither of those), it’s just that they have no unique qualities whatsoever other than that (oddly enough) they actually fit the rest of the music.

The vocals seem to be getting more complex with each album. In Awaken to the Suffering, the vocal patterns were much less predictable than the ones in Legacy of the Ancients. I wouldn’t say that the vocal patterns have made an even bigger jump in complexity in this album because they haven’t. They have gotten less predictable, but only slightly. I’m hoping that they stay that way, unless they decide to make the rest of the music more complex in order to even it out. I have absolutely nothing to complain about the overall sound of the instruments. The guitars have a type of distortion that you pretty much only hear on a Pathology record. Speaking of that, the distortion is almost exactly like the distortion on Awaken to the Suffering. It just sounds a little meatier because there’s a lot more bass guitar in the new record.

The drums aren’t too upfront and aren’t drowned out; they’re perfect. Pathology, yet again, comes out with another juicy slab of smashing brutal death that gives you Pathology and nothing else. People that are looking for boundary-pushing material wouldn’t be impressed by this because, well…Pathology just doesn’t feel the need to be a progressive band because they’re obviously having fun doing what they’ve been doing since 2006! I would definitely check this out; it’s not something that lets you down. I would give The Time of Great Purification 15/20.