Gehenna - Murder review
03. Worthy Exit
04. Devout Dementia
05. The Crucified One
06. Perfect Hate
07. To The Grave
08. Trail Of Blood
09. Master Satan
10. The Dead
The only contact I've had with Gehenna prior to hearing Murder was their EP, First Spell. And damn, never would I guess that it's actually the same band behind both releases. I couldn't for the life of me tell what happened to these guys in the meantime and why they sound so god damned pissed nowadays, as opposed to the early days when they were a respectable atmospheric, mellow black metal band. You guys need to went? Realized there was no money in black metal? Girlfriend issues? Positive HIV test? [insert witty snark here]
Well, whatever the reason, I just wish they did it with a little more creativity. This black/death/thrash hybrid has been done to death already, and done a lot better than this. We're looking at a very riff-based, energetic and pissed sonic beatdown. Short tracks focused on ramming you with riffs, riffs and more riffs, like a series of direct punches to your face, ears and crotch. Nothing progressive or particularly complex to be found here, folks, this is basically a bit more stripped down and more death metal fused early Slayer. Everything has been done correctly, from the competent guitars and varied drumming to the shouted raspy vocals that are taking a back seat in the final mix, pretty much treated as another instrument instead of being placed in front of everything else, a decision I applaud.
Unfortunately, the whole thing sounds a tad plastic, as if it wasn't performed with enough conviction. Testosterone levels don't rise nearly as high as they should in a release like this, and when you take that out of the equation, there really isn't much with which Murder can boast. While being generally headbangable and enjoyable, there are absolutely no moments of awe-inspiring brilliance, nothing even close to it, in fact. Slapping on some solos or perhaps adding a different element to the basic songwriting formula of riff-shout-switch riff-repeat could have done wonders here. The production is a tad muddy, which I like, as it prevents the album from sounding completely sterile and clean, a mistake which many extreme metal bands keep repeating in this day of modern technology.
Really, there are no actual flaws I can point out here: everything has been done as it should. However, nothing has been done exceptionally either. Murder is a middle-class release, and it's impossible to put it even into a sub-category like upper or lower middle-class: it's pretty much middle middle-class. I'm sure there are adrenaline junkies that will eat this one up, but I simply couldn't force myself to listen to it more than twice, not with all the new releases out there done by bands that actually try to do something new.
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