For those of you that don’t already know, Amputated Vein Records is one of the more mentionable record labels in the brutal death and grind scene. Because I’m tired of giving a full introduction of the label, I’ll just say that some of the bands that have released albums through Amputated Vein include Pathology, All Shall Perish, Disentomb, Cephalotripsy, Viral Load, and Visceral Disgorge. Well, the label’s most recent release is the fourth release of Slovakian brutal death band Craniotomy. Having heard some pretty fantastic shit from this label (i.e. Slaughterbox, Disentomb, Relics of Humanity, etc.), I was pretty quick to give this fresh album a listen. Because it’s been awhile since this label put out a record, I thought that this might have been a hidden surprise they were waiting to release. Is Craniotomy the next big innovative band? Do they suck? Why am I asking questions?
Craniotomy’s fourth and freshest release, titled Supply of Flesh Came Just in Time has just about anything you could ask for from a good brutal death record. It’s got low-tuned guitars, inhaled vocals, blast beats, slamming breakdowns, absolute brutality, and a fine piece of graphic artwork to put the icing on the cake. Those of you that just want a solid chunk of brutality, this is something that needs to be checked out. Those of you that are looking for uniqueness…I’ll address that in a bit.
Let’s take a minute and look at the individual musicians for a second. The drums rarely fall out of time, his style is on the generic side, but he manages to keep a few unexpected tricks up his sleeve. The bassist plays with above-average grooves and colorful bass lines. Bassists either playing random low notes or following along with the guitars are way too common in this genre, so it’s refreshing to hear a bassist that can actually do something interesting. The guitarist’s skill doesn’t go above average, but never falls below. The distortion he has on his guitar is extremely edgy and sounds great when he plays those high-pitched harmonics. What’s truly interesting about the guitarist is the non-traditional playing style. The really catchy and groovy riffs that he plays are what give Craniotomy’s sound the small amount of uniqueness they have.
The album kicks off with an eerie intro that slightly grows louder into a driving headbang-appropriate section that’s catchy as fuck. Here’s where things get “interesting” you are introduced to the vocals at the beginning of a groovy breakdown. I actually thought that this was going to be really good…until those vocals came in. The vocals are not only uninteresting and monotonic, they fail to show any sort of anger or power. I would imagine that, in a record as brutal as this, that you would want the VOCALS to be brutal too. But no, this guy sounds like he’s snoring. We need to hear more dynamical variety, different pitches, and more of a powerful sound. One of the reasons that I love bands like Cerebral Bore and Guttural Secrete so much is because the vocals sound unique, powerful, varied in pitch, and just plain fucking brutal! In other words, the vocals bring the energy of the music way down. I can tell that all the vocalist is trying to do is get out the deepest sound possible. Although he is doing a good job at letting out some fucking deep inhales, it doesn’t provide any positive contributions for the rest of the band.
Other than that one letdown, to those of you expecting something super innovative, this isn’t for you. For the hardcore fans of slamming brutality, have at it. Craniotomy provides brutal death that’s more on the groovy side. Nothing more, nothing less. Are these guys shitty? Not in the slightest bit. So yeah, I would only recommend this to the brutal death fans and give it a score that lies right in the middle of the spectrum, making it not lie in a positive or negative area with a 10/20.