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Pathology - "Awaken to the Suffering" (CD)

Pathology - "Awaken to the Suffering" CD cover image

"Awaken to the Suffering" track listing:

1. Dissected By Righteousness
2. Ingestion of Creation
3. Hostility Towards Conformity
4. Media Consumption
5. Society's Desolation
6. Prolonging the Suffering
7. A Perverse Existence
8. Humanity's Cesspool
9. Festering in Filth
10. Opposing Globalization
11. Emesis
12. Revocation of Earth

Reviewed by on November 17, 2011

"It delivers a non-stop blast of metal with enough variety and clarity to make it one of the better albums in the scene. It doesn't do anything new, but what it does achieve is a good quotient of brutality."

The brutal death metal genre is a scene all unto itself, loaded with the most extreme bands. In order to stand out, a group has to rise above the heap with either killer production, technical elements or a factor of uniqueness. San Diego's Pathology has managed to do that in its five album history. In this go-around, the band has made some line-up changes, recruited new vocalist Jonathan Huber and released "Awaken to the Suffering."

This new album from Pathology does not let up on the energy factor until the final track, an acoustic number named "Revocation of Earth" that seems tacked-on and out of place. The rest of "Awaken to the Suffering" is a non-stop energetic pummeling of considerable force. The production is loud and pristine, and the band transcend being slam-death by throwing in technical elements here and there. Take the best track on the album, "Media Consumption," which combines total slam death with old-school metal leads. The tracks with this type of variety end up being the best, since many of the brutal metal tracks end up being indistinguishable from each other. This type of interchange makes "Humanity's Cesspool" interesting when it goes from a nice chugging rhythm to a fast blitz of drums and leads.

Of course, the album breaks no new ground. Pathology are fast, brutal metal and that's what is expected of them. Fans will listen to this album and receive a complete and total cathartic session. It plows track through track of loud oblivion, putting you into a catatonic state. Songs such as "Society's Desolation" are the most memorable, because they change it up with interesting leads and blast beats back and forth from the slower skank beat. Pathology seem to follow this pattern of switching from leads to lethal breakdowns on many of the songs like "Ingestion of Creation." When the band truly works on fleshing out one idea, like the slamming beat of "Festering in Filth," it works better than the sudden change-ups the band does on much of the album. Their token for combining a whirlwind of leads like they do in "Hostility of Conformity" is what makes them immediately listenable and sets them apart from the other brutal death metal bands, and it's good when they spend more time exploring this side of them.

The addition of Huber on vocals is probably the biggest change one will hear on "Awaken to the Suffering." As soon as you start listening to the first track, "Dissected By Righteousness," you not only hear the growls, but the squeals. His voice sounds like a cross between one of those bleating seals you hear out in the ocean and someone trying to speak after their throat is slashed. The guy is downright comical, and when he switches from the growls to the squeals in "A Perverse Existence" and other songs, you're left shaking your head. He really needs to stick to a more ominous tone, as all those strange gurgles get downright annoying. When he growls, he's like any other brutal death metal singer, but the only time you're immune from those cringe-inducing squeals is on instrumental tracks like "Prolonging the Suffering."

Besides that, "Awaken to the Suffering" is a pretty decent album in the context of the brutal death metal genre. It delivers a non-stop blast of metal with enough variety and clarity to make it one of the better albums in the scene. It doesn't do anything new, but what it does achieve is a good quotient of brutality.

Highs: Good energy and loud production make for a fairly brutal listen.

Lows: Some songs are indistinguishable from others and the vocals have their comical moments.

Bottom line: There are enough elements in the songs on "Awaken to the Suffering" to set them apart in the slam death genre.

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)