Thursday, June 11, 2015

Embrional - The Devil Inside [2015]

Polish death metal trope Embrional put out a fairly impressive debut with 2012's ''Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors'' which was arguably among the 'better' offerings of brutal or technical death metal that came out that year, even though stylistically the Poles possess a whim that doesn't quite fit either camp. Of course we can all thank fuck for the Polish scene smothering and festooning us with quality upon quality of neck-braking excursions of death metal, be it Vader, Behemoth's latest, Lost Soul, Decapitated or the less know Deivos, and also for the fact that Embrional hasn't gone astray after the success of their debut. A reasonably unctuous nod at both the old and the new school, ''The Devil Inside'' keeps the pace of its predecessor, with all its mechanized devilry and didactic, old school-oriented precision, though it may have also left me in some degree of dismay along the way while failing to excavate anything novel on the way...

In other words, the gratifying suspense and novelty of the debut has somewhat faded with the sophomore, naturally of course, but you'd think that the Poles would have carved a fresher niche in 3 years for the whole serving. This is grotesque, intense proto-brutal death metal which I imagine garners much of its aesthetics from the Floridian scene of the 90's, as it's very reminiscent of Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal, but with also the beckoning, thrashy technicality of Pestilence or Cynic if I had to take it to such a degree, yet the Poles masterfully retain the primal, urban grime that had made their debut such a cankered cake feast for me in the first place, with enough smudge, distortion and bizarrely spidery riff patterns to creep out even more resilient ears. At the same time, the Poles are certainly never 'brutal' to the extent that I'd equate them with the heavier material of Corpse, even though I highly doubt they weren't influenced by the creeping monstrosity of some of the riffs on ''Bloodthirst''. Surgical but never unnecessarily bombastic or overloaded with worn down chugs or insipid, soulless guitar sweeps and wankery, I love that there is still a sense of trauma and suspense to this record almost as much as there was to the debut, like an industrial anthem empowering cannibalistic corpses from their maggot-infested cemetery.

The vocals are always there, a sinister growl that certainly feels more capaciously evil and absorbing than most forced cookie monster growls, and it helps that every aspect of the music gets a fair share in the mix so that the guitars aren't up front and the drums actually have an earthen texture to them despite being quite impressive, so that they don't sound like mechanized cinder blocks pounding your ear drums vociferously; the graven mantra of a mid 90's death metal record can be traced here if carefully listened through, even if the production have values have a naturally high ramp to them. Yet the debut was far from perfect to begin with. There are hindrances here that unfortunately don't go unheard, such as the lack of depth in the riff-craft. All told, I do love the kind of clinical yet caustic riffing the Poles propagate, yet at the same time I couldn't help but feel that they were somewhat worn out in that department since there wasn't a whole lot of variety between the tremolos, the death/thrashing breakdowns and the more mechanical pickings. ''The Devil Inside'' is an uncouth human grater, efficient and consistently enjoyable, but it's a grater gone a tad rusty, especially after 2-3 spins. Nevertheless, besides that, as well as the utterly disposable and clumsily named ''Whores, Drugs and Brain Dead'', with such great tracks as ''Evil's Mucus'', or the vorpal ''Callousness'', this is a veritable slaughterhouse of culinary hypnosis and mathematical nightmares which fans of carnal death metal, old and new alike, ought not miss.

Evil's Muckus
The Abyss

Rating: 75% 

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