Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monstrosity - Millennium (1996)

I've never been overly fond of "technical" death metal. Sure, every now and then something will come along that truly blows my mind but I've always preferred the more gloomier side of the metal o' death.

Monstrosity is one of those band's that never really did it for me. I remember hearing ex-vocalist George Corpsegrinder's back ups on a few Suffocation tracks off of 'Effigy...' and being rather pumped for the debut release of his own band as a result. About a year or so later I finally got to hear 'Imperial Doom' and it was one of those experiences where you couldn't quite tell if you had just got slobbered by a mouthful of suck. I remember thinking that while it didn't completely blow gigantic ape-cock, something was nonetheless amiss and that's pretty much how I've felt about the band since.

Mind you, when I first heard this album I was fairly bigoted towards "technical" musicianship. Overly flashy guitar work never ceased to annoy me and almost all of these sorts of bands employed an ultra-homo and wimpy guitar sound. Again, I always liked my death metal to have a massive low-end and to sound as if it had just crawled from out of the swampy depths. Millennium is about as far from that as you can get. Also, at this time, I was not a big fan of Corpsegrinder's style of bark. I have always held a fair amount of respect for his ability to belt out a verse but the actual "sound" of his voice was never my thing. Needless to say, it would be many years until I gave this album a listen from a different perspective and a new pair of ears.

First off, I'm not all of a sudden this "huge Monstrosity fan" and I'm still just as leery of bands that march under the "technical death metal" banner, but, I will say that this is about as good of an album as you can get in regards to that particular style. To me this IS a technical "death metal" album whereas any album released by Atheist (for example) I would have a harder time labeling as such. Atheist, for one thing, is far too "jazzy" for me to really consider them being a tried and true "death metal" band. The other thing is that I am more inclined to categorize them as a thrash band. Monstrosity has more of that "hateful intent" that is a mandatory element when penning a "death metal" tune. Atheist is almost more of a "fun" band in comparison. Having blown all that out of my ass, 'Millennium' is one of those rare albums that I'll bust out when I'm craving something a little more than your standard "tremolo frenzy". It's one of those albums that you revert to when in the presence of some guitar-hero nerd and you want to blow them away with the technical proficiency of an elite death metal band. Sure, I consider Monstrosity to be among the elite, even though they've never tasted the same amount of success or notoriety as many of their generational peers. I mean, for one thing, they've remained musically and thematically consistent well into their third decade of existence and, for the most part, no two albums of theirs sounds the same. Obviously this is largely due to the perpetual revolving door of guitarists and vocalists the band has endured throughout the years. Nonetheless, at this stage I find them to be far more compelling than Suffocation, who, in my opinion, blew their creative wad early in their career and have pretty much been re-releasing their first three albums over and over ever since.

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