Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gortuary - Awakening of Pestilent Beings

So apparently Gortuary had released a follow-up to their AMAZING debut, and I didn’t find out about it until three years later; way to stay in the loop. During fall of last year, I stumbled upon Gortuary’s little (but official) online merch store, which is where I saw that there were TWO CDs available. Now if you read my review on their debut, you know that my favorite thing about that album was the vocalist. That guy has some of the most gruesome and unique inhales I’ve ever heard. That along with how the drums sounded were the key contributors for why I love that album. With high anticipation to hear those vocals again, I play the record and hear a completely different voice.

For reasons that, no matter how much research I do, I can’t seem to find, Gortuary’s original vocalist is not featured on this album. Once again no idea why, or even when (well obviously sometime in between the releases of their first and second albums) this happened, but that’s not even the biggest disappointment. The worst part is the guy that replaced him. He’s one of the best prime examples of the absolute most generic inhaled vocals sound like. If you lose a very unique vocalist, the least you could do is find a replacement that’s also unique. It doesn’t have to be just as unique as his/her predecessor, it can be a completely different type of uniqueness! But the WORST thing you want to do is replace an extremely recognizable and unique vocalist with a bottom-of-the-barrell easy to find generic guy that sounds exactly like 60% of the other ones! What the fuck happened to having standards?? Even having some random fuck like Matti Way or Blue Jensen or just SOMEONE that’s not average appear as a session vocalist would’ve been a better idea than to pick up some random fuck off the street.

But then again, I don’t know this guy, there’s a big possibility that he has a long history with the members of this band and was chosen because he’s their friend and they get along great. Or maybe he volunteered to step in when Oliver was no longer a member of Gortuary. I’ll never know for sure why the chose this new fuck, but that’s not my job, I don’t think he’s a good fit for these guys and because of his vocals, this whole album sounds purely generic and uninteresting compared to the band’s debut.

When I looked up this new guy, Nate, to take a look at his musical history, it’s pretty obvious that he’s fairly new. But the odd thing is that it doesn’t seem like he’s ever been in any super underground bands. He did guest vocals on two tracks from the album Shattered Eyes put out in 2010 (and recently re-released via Amputated Vein), and he was the official vocalist for brutal death behemoths Disgorge from 2012-2013, which means that all he did with them was tour a bit and maybe make attempts at writing. But his gig with Pathology wasn’t until two years AFTER this album was recorded, and the Shattered Eyes thing was at the same time. So this might’ve been Nate’s first time recording with an actual band. My suggestion? TRY DOING SOMETHING MORE UNIQUE AND RECOGNIZABLE.

Moving on, the overall production of the album is very dry and unmemorable. As I guessed, they got a different producer for this album, and his resume is pathetic with the only notable albums he’s produced being a Bleeding Through album and the first two Pathology records. So the guitar distortion is dry and tasteless, the drums never stand out, the only time you can hear the bassist is during the two or three solos where he’s the only one playing. Everything just seemed to go the minimalist route this time around which is very disappointing because I LOVE their first album, I always mention it when listing off unique and very good brutal death albums, but this is not the same band that’s on Manic Thoughts of Perverse Mutilation (okay yes I know the only difference in lineup is the vocalist but they don’t sound the same).

Aside from all that, there are some musical progressions the band has made. I don’t exactly remember there being many guitar solos on Manic Thoughts, but there are plenty of them on Awakening of Pestilent Beings. They aren’t anything special, but I am glad that they’re not just random shredding that sounds like absolutely nothing (very few bands sound good with that). There’s even a nice interlude somewhat similar to the last track from Guttural Secrete’s legendary Reek of Pubescent Despoilment.

Another change to take note is that the breakdowns are much more profound and are played in a more traditional fashion. To me this is a step in the wrong direction, but I know some of you out there prefer this style of brutal death so I’ll let you be the judge of that. Regardless of all the negatives, the band is still tight, none of them suck at what they do, they’re great as a band! So this album is very solid in terms of the basics and mandatory elements, but it’s the fact that they went from going above and beyond on their last album to going with the bare minimum is sickening to me. It makes this record sound a lot worse to me than it actually is because of the disappointment it’s caused me.

For those of you that are simply looking for a piece of slamming brutality where the band doesn’t suck, this is not a bad choice. The band is very tight, and there are a few hidden surprises you might like. If you’re one of the fuckers like me that was expecting a follow-up to Manic Thoughts of Perverse Mutilation, sorry, nothing to see here. It’d probably be best to save yourself the disappointment by not listening to this because’s just not anywhere near being as good as Manic Thoughts. I would give this new-ish Gortuary record a 9/20.