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Cessation of Life - "Path Of Totality" (CD)

Cessation of Life - "Path Of Totality" CD cover image

"Path Of Totality" track listing:

1. Murder In The Pit
2. Waiting For The End
3. Admitting
4. Life In Camarillo
5. Necropolis
6. Reason To Live
7. Ignorance And Apathy
8. Untranquil Seas
9. Hot Rod Heaven
10. Into Pieces
11. Everything And Everyone
12. The World Today

Reviewed by on May 12, 2009

"The album begins with a squealing solo from guitarist Marty Mostad, who dominates the album through the sheer force of his talent."

Listening to Cessation of Life's "Path Of Totality" is a little like eating a cake that's 50 percent frosting. At first it's wonderful, because you're getting so much of the best part. It's only at the end that you start to figure out that you've just gorged on something that didn't have as much in the way of nourishment as it maybe should have.

I've got to give Cessation of Life credit for leading with their strong suit. The album begins with a squealing solo from guitarist Marty Mostad, who dominates the album through the sheer force of his talent. This is a guitarist to be reckoned with — and the fact that he and the band can create a Pantera-ish song like "Murder In The Pit," without sounding like they're aping Dimebag Darrell and the boys, gave me high hopes for the rest of the album.

The album drops off a bit with the next song, "Waiting For The End," which keeps the Pantera vibe, but is a little unmemorable.

"Admitting" is an interesting bit of acoustic guitar work, leading into "Life In Camarillo," which features some excellent drum work by Ron Ostlund.

The album's first single, "Necropolis," has a good solo, and a nice, almost punk-y beginning, but bogs down at the end. After that, the album starts to drag a bit. You start realizing that the band is starting to drag out the same tricks again and again, and where Mostad's guitar breaks started out sounding inspired, now they seem more like filler.

The album's second half is rejuvenated a bit by "Hot Rod Heaven," which shows off a sense of fun, even if it relies a bit too much on guitar solos (boy, that's a sentence I never thought I'd type).

Overall, singer Chris Violence does a pretty good job, alternating between growls and somewhat more melodic vocals. Some of his vocal cadences start to sound the same, but, until the end of the album, that really didn't bother me much.

In a speed/thrash band with no rhythm guitarist, the bass player is that much more important in keeping the rhythms tight, and Justin Harrison is mostly up to the challenge, though there are a few moments where Mostad's solos completely cover him up. That may be more of a production quibble, though.

"Path Of Totality" is by no means a bad album. It may rely a bit much on Mostad's hot guitar breaks and get a little predictable, but as with that frosting-filled cake I talked about in the beginning, just because you're a little too gorged on empty calories at the end, that doesn't mean the meal wasn't a whole lot of fun.

Highs: "Murder In The Pit," and "Hot Rod Heaven"

Lows: The end of the album starts to get a bit repetitive.

Bottom line: A little repetitive at the end, but a fun album nonetheless.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)