Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hemotoxin - Between Forever... And The End [2013]

When Hemotoxin's 2012 demo, ''Divinity In Torture'' first reached my ears, it was hardly a huge appeal to me, nothing more of a technical showdown of various thrash and death metal influences crammed into one versatile package with the energy of youth exploding all over the demo. Enter 2013, though, you get the chance to be acquainted with the California death/thrashers' debut full-length, and what's truly intriguing is that by barely tweaking the main colors of previous formula, the band has managed to capture a far more diverse spectrum of riffs, a consistent assembly, thus raising the overall quality by heaps, where you'd imagine they would continue the same way. Hemotoxin have plunged right into complete tech-death/thrash territory here, and they've opened themselves a wider range of musical preferences by doing so, and they've no doubt started to harness sustenance from different sources in contrast to their previous ''Human'' era Death worship, embodying a brazen, even forlorn tinge into their technical rehash, even though the album is quite devoid of anchor.

This is still essentially a homage to ''Human'', that much is overly blatant when glimpse at their cover of ''Suicide Machine'', and you could still call this old school, spraying the listener with a bevy of churning, palm-muted tech-thrash fluctuations that should hold some appeal even to fans of purer, straightforward Bay-Area acts like Vio-lence, Metallica and Blind Illusion, but as much as ''Between Forever...'' strains to rekindle the underground love for Atheist, Death circa 1991-1993, early Pestilence or Dutch obscures Thanatos, they're inevitably malcontent with the overall technical proficiency those aforementioned bands have intact, so about a quarter of this disc belongs to a marginally more modern effulgence, say, Cynic or late  Gorguts perhaps. They're not shy in hiding their obvious influences, the Chuck Shuldiner-like inflection, polished production, and frothing, gradually culminating riff-fests that just overtly display a mesh of ubiquitous tech-death chomps and raging death/thrash affairs. The songs are fairly variant, but each manifest through an equal measure of raw excitement and less frivolous dual guitar harmonies. Hemotoxin are truly busy with everything they do, and that's what I love about this album. The absolute best song here is ''Autophagy'', which was originally released in last year's ''Divinity In Torture'' demo; a hungry, immensely prehensile palette of convoluted riffing played an grindcore-speed, so angry and stocked with intricacy that I felt I was witnessing Sinister, Vendetta, Death, Vio-lence, early Pestilence and Atheist simultaneously.

''Between Forever...'' deserves much praise, and particularly because it had no gigantic flaw. Alright, I'll confide that despite the avidity I hold for these tech-y riffs they weren't deviating from their sources, and hell, I even heard similar riffing from recent acts like Skeletal Remains, but that aside, my biggest complaint was the production values. Even though it was solid, I couldn't quite hear the drums rolling and thundering under the excessively audible wail of the guitars, as if nearly the entire meat of the album was bestowed on the chugging ferocity of the guitars, and I would have preferred some spidery hooks rather than the polished font of the record: you see, the quality of the production is more fit for something worshiping, say, Cryptopsy or Necrophagist, and the riffs aren't mature enough to bear that sort of complexity, which means a rougher, crooked crack in the production would have been a better choice, even when Hemotoxin seldom dive into utopian territory with their simultaneously epitomizing guitar harmonies.

In general, though, the Californians' product is utterly convincing, vigorous and fierce, something I'd easily choose over some of the worse efforts of the aforementioned mavens. ''Between Forever...'' sustains mobility, has an extensive range of riffs that they interpret into their own multi-dimensional contours, and despite the relatively lengthy leap it took towards more technical borders, still remains fresh with primordial, bristling anger. It's quite palpable that they quartet are still playing it somewhat safe, and they'll do wonders if they could incorporate such primal competence as they exhibited here into an even busier ebullition of tech-death avidity. Easily recommended for fervent tech-death/thrashers of any sort - if you enjoy any of the labels above then you'll have no problem liking this.

Divinity In  Torture
Confined To Desolation

Rating: 85%

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