Sunday, 15 March 2009

Waking the Cadaver - Perverse Recollections of a Necromangler

Firstly, I'm going to get some facts straight. I like deathcore. I like appropriately used breakdowns (if it's good enough for Aborted, Suffocation and Dying Fetus, it’s good enough for me). I even tolerate (again, appropriately used) pig squeals. And yet I cannot bring myself to listen to this album again. Its pathetic ineptness is altogether embarrassing, both for them and for whoever actually spent money on this. This is the most pathetic death metal release I've heard in a very long time. Fortunately, it's just the kind of thing for a good old fashioned diatribe.

Firstly, let's talk initial impressions. I borrowed this from a friend out of a kind of morbid curiosity at whether or not they would have improved since the EP, so my priorities may be different from someone buying it commercially, but I saw the cover art and groaned. It's not what you'd call subtle. The track titles are similar; the kind of thing stoned teens giggle about between eating and becoming greasier with each passing moment. 

The disk is in, and fuck knows what the common-or-garden ambient intro was actually of, because after multiple listens I still had no goddamn clue. It leaks through into first proper track "Always Unprotected" which, after the remnants of the intro have disappeared, launches off into the kind of blastbeat-riddled UBER BR00T4L section that they still fail to pull off. That said, the attempt is less pathetic that that of the EP, partially thanks to the drummer actually having the common decency to, y'know, be halfway competent this time round, rather than losing the beat every fuckmothering five seconds, which is always a nice thought.

Unfortunately, the singer still has severe psychological and emotional issues, or at least that's the only justification I can think of for his ego allowing him to actually sing like that on record. He still sounds like a toad with throat cancer, and possesses all the vocal range of Stephen fucking Hawking. If anything, he's regressed past the standard he set in the EP, which is like saying Jorge "Hurley" Garcia has regressed past his standard he set in Lost Season 1 for sex appeal. I mean it, at least in the EP he had a repertoire of burping, pig squeeeeeeeel and a weedy mix of hardcore shout and death growl, whereas here the latter is "sadly" excluded in favour of more burps. Even then, Devourment-style full-lunged floor-shakers are out, weedy back-of-throat grumbles are in, and the piggies deserve credit for how much they actually sound like a piglet squealing, which, someone has neglected to tell WTC, is not a good thing. The Whitechapel/Misericordiam-style vocal walls of noise that piggies are supposed to be are best found elsewhere. 

But what is a WTC song actually made up of? Well, breakdowns mostly, and for a lot of bands, an inventive, blood-stirring 30-second breakdown within the context of a 3-4 minute song can make a song great, especially live. However WTC don't include breakdowns within the song structure. Breakdowns ARE the song structure, occasionally punctuated with the kind of faster sections mentioned above, afterthoughts at best, and are almost deliberately dull.

Now for the interesting part. How does it compare to the EP? I'd like to take a moment to compare the two versions of "Chased through the Woods by a Rapist", a song infamous for it's astonishing ability to reduce nearby listeners and small children into fits of laughter, not least because of some truly heroic lyrical interpretations ( The documentary intro is gone, probably because on a full-length there's no need for shameless space-padding. This is a track that suffers from the deeper vocals, although the mildly better drumming invokes less unintentional hilarity on the fast part. The guitars can still charitably be called boring and uncharitably called execrable, but fortunately due to the 90% breakdowns structure of the song, they're only playing half the time.

The lowest point is the inventively titled "Interlude", which is a sound bite of the band smoking cannabis; it's like they're laughing at me for having been stupid enough to endure the album by making me listen to them having more fun than I did at any point throughout the entire CD.

However, there is a slight upside that stops it being a failure unlike any other; something must have gone right during the song writing process because these songs are catchy, albeit in the same sense that leprosy is catchy. As much as I hate it, this is evidence that it doesn't fail on all accounts.

However, this is still a terrible, TERRIBLE album. Everything that's good about death metal and deathcore is either horribly abused or missing entirely; I'd complain about the lack of solos, experimentation or variation but the album is over a lot quicker with them. It’s the kind of album that can only be attractive to horribly misinformed people with a gore fetish and no knowledge of the death metal scene. Maybe it’s for the kind of person who watches YouTube videos of pigs eating other pigs as porn, or who’s really creepily into meat tenderising; those are certainly the kind of person who make up this band. We don’t understand them, but hell, perhaps they don’t understand why we don’t enjoy rubbing raw mince on our genitals.

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