Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Album Review: Cystic Dysentery - "Culture of Death"

I like death metal. Old school death metal, melodic death metal, blackened death metal, I like a lot of the shit out there. If there are two styles of death metal I don't usually enjoy, they are technical death metal and brutal death metal. For the readers who don't know what technical or brutal death metal are, don't worry, I'll give you an incredibly brief crash course. Technical death metal is death metal played at a million miles an hour, with a focus on the complexity of the riffs/ drum patterns/ solos/ song structures. In other words, you need to be technically proficient to play it. Brutal death metal on the other hand, sometimes called or compared to slam death metal sacrifices the extreme technicality for sheer unrelenting heaviness. Here is where you find your most downtuned guitars and most gurgled, incomprehensible vocals. Not to say brutal death isn't technical, it's just that technical death metal is on a whole other level of complexity. You can usually judge how brutal a band will be by the illegibility of their logo and how technical they'll be by the amount of sci-fi shit they can pack into their album covers. Alright, lesson over, let's get on with the review.

Cystic Dysentery is a brutal (see logo) death metal band with a technical flare (see alien-like humanoid on cover) from the death metal state of the USA, Florida. They've pumped out their debut album Culture of Death on Deathgasm Records. The technicality really only shines through with the drumming, coming from the wickedly fast double kicks and the occasional face-melting solo.

The band actually blends the two styles together really well. When they want to go warp speed, they can, with buzzaw guitar riffs that fly across the fretboard, and when they want to bring gargantuan pit slams, they can turn on a dime and dish out slow, heavy, and thick as fuck riffs that make you want to stomp your feet in the pit and make wiggerish arm movements while wearing an oversized basketball jersey and a snapback. The riffs themselves aren't anything we haven't heard before from the likes of Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, and Aborted, but hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it? I enjoy the solos that crop up on the album, because even though they tend to exist only to show off the guitarist's mad skills, there are some sweet moments. The song "Born of Fire" has two solos in it, and the second/ outro solo is definitely the most memorable part of the entire album for me. While not also showcasing the guitarist's talent, there's something inherently rock 'n' roll about it which just gets me. From the long repeated bent notes to the dive bombs to the inharmonic noodling, I can only imaging the guitarist having a complete ball while playing it.

I'm not to crazy about the vocals on Culture of Death; they tend to follow traditional brutal death metal fashion. Crazy low growls that make Satan shit his pants and pig squeals so pig squealy I feel like I'm visiting a farm. There isn't much variation on the album as far as vocal range is concerned, and again, the vocals aren't anything that pop out at me.

The biggest problem I have with this album is the triggering on the drummer's kick pedals. I understand you need triggers to be able to hear the insanely fast drumming here, but I know that some bands have mixed both the triggered sound and a non-triggered sound together so that the bass drums sound nice and heavy while still maintaining the clarity. The kicks on Culture of Death don't sound too bad when they're played in the slower passages, but when the drummer really lets loose is when I find the clicky sounds of the triggers too distracting to properly enjoy the rest of the music.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Dead Priest, Born of Fire

On a Playlist With: Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, Aborted

Overall Score


Cystic Dysentery's Culture of Death is a brutal death metal album for brutal death metal fans. If you like the style, then I'm certain you'll love this album. If you aren't the hugest fan like I am, this album won't suddenly turn you into the worlds biggest Devourment fan. I have to give credit where credit is due, so I can say this is good shit, it's just that ultimately, it wasn't memorable enough of a listen for me.

Culture of Death can be picked up from Deathgasm Records and you can check out the rad bros of Cystic Dysentery on Facebook as well.

That's all for now, folks!


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