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Wojczech - "Pulsus Letalis" (CD)

Wojczech - "Pulsus Letalis" CD cover image

"Pulsus Letalis" track listing:

1. Weltenfresser (1:58)
2. Battlestar (1:15)
3. Reduktion (2:18)
4. Zitat (1:24)
5. Steinzeiten (1:58)
6. Leitkultur (3:16)
7. Maggots In Your Coffin (1:32)
8. Izotope (2:04)
9. Pulsus Letalis (2:37)
10. Rausch (2:33)
11. Klonkrieger (2:08)
12. 67°48'0'N 12°50'0'O (1:54)

Reviewed by on November 21, 2010

"Their sophomore album, 'Pulsus Letalis,' is more of the same from the band; plenty of short grind stunners and a few death metal-paced tangents."

A band that seems to favor splits and 7” over LP’s, German grinders Wojczech only have one previous full-length album to their name. That may not seem like a big deal, until you factor in that the band has been together over 15 years and that their debut came out in 2005. Five years isn’t as long as a decade to wait for a full-length, so Wojczech has that going for them. Their sophomore album, “Pulsus Letalis,” is more of the same from the band; plenty of short grind stunners and a few death metal-paced tangents. It’s all done with a degree of competency and skill, though the language barrier and lack of memorable riffs can be too much of a hindrance to overcome.

Like much grind music, this album is less about technical wizardry and more on unfiltered aggression. The instruments collide against each other like children having their way with pots and pans. In the midst of it all is a multitude of vocals screaming and shouting bitter rage. The lyrics are mostly in German, so other than song titles being repeated, there isn’t much to latch onto if a listener is not fluent in that particular language. Most of grind is incoherent anyway whether English is used or not, so it’s not a life-altering deterrent.

The flow of any music plays a role in obtaining lasting enjoyment, and Wojczech does a great job with structuring the album. The faster material opens up the album, with the thrash-leaning “Weltenfresser” and the ripping “Battlestar.” The band knows when to slow down, placing the longest track “Leitkultur” right near the center to provide an opportunity for a momentary reprieve. The guitar harmonies and jagged feedback are a different style from the rest of the album. The spirit of late 80’s grind acts like Napalm Death can be surmised from this track and other ones on the second half that reach past the two-minute mark.

The riffs are stacked to the ceiling, but very few of them stand out. Brutal Truth and Agoraphobic Nosebleed have proved that grind can be catchy if approached from the right perspective. “Maggots In Your Coffin” is the only track that approaches any degree of infectious quality, a punk-ish groove combines with the band gleefully repeating the title of the song. The in-your-face tempos make the songs true to the spirit of the genre; however, it all comes at the sacrifice of retention.

Of course, most will say that grind isn’t about being catchy, and that would be correct. What makes one return to an album again and again though? Any album, grind included, needs to put something out there that listeners can grasp onto. It can be as complex as a political message or as simple as a riff that causes someone to jolt back in their chair. Wojczech just doesn’t put enough together on “Pulsus Letalis” to cause such a reaction from the average metal fan. Grind freaks will be enthralled with this, but that’s honestly about it.

Highs: Unbridled aggression, "Maggots In Your Coffin" is catchy as hell, strong flow between grind and death metal tracks

Lows: Won't understand the lyrics unless fluent in German, lack of memorable riffs

Bottom line: A sophomore effort that will sit well with grind aficionados, but few others.

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)