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Mumakil - "Customized Warfare" (CD)

Mumakil - "Customized Warfare" CD cover image

"Customized Warfare" track listing:

01. I
02. II
03. III
04. IV
05. V
06. VI
07. VII
08. VIII
09. IX
10. X
11. XI
12. XII
13. XIII
14. XIV
15. XV
16. XVI
17. XVII
19. XIX
20. XX
21. XXI
22. XXII
24. XXIV
25. XXV
26. XXVI
29. XXIX
30. XXX
31. XXXI

Reviewed by on June 4, 2007

"By mixing the best of both arsenals(death and grind), the Swiss “blastcore” prophets truly demolish all but their closest contemporaries."

The credo of keeping metal pure is an old one. It’s often justified by those who cite the fallacy of Limp Bizkit’s rap-metal, the contradiction of Trivium’s thrash-pop or the genre damning fashion dependance of Poison and Ratt. This desire for purity of “True Metal” often comes at the cost of homogeneity. Meanwhile, the greatness of hybrids like Behemoth, Converge, Zyklon and Opeth are deemed flukes or are omitted entirely. Those tortured by notions of deathened grind or ground death would be wise to pass on Mumakil’s Customized Warfare. By mixing the best of both arsenals, the Swiss “blastcore” prophets truly demolish all but their closest contemporaries.

The balance of crushing intensity and blinding speed is struck immediately and sustained to the albums conclusion. Blast beats endlessly climb over one another while guitars conjure handsaws raping lead pipes. Amid the bombardment, vocals occasionally reach for J.R. Hayes (Pig Destroyer) heights but most often scrape Glen Benton (Deicide) depths. Clean vocals are justifiably afraid of this album. Each “song” clocks in between ten seconds and two and a half minutes, ensuring the impossibility of boredom. Mumakil shun the limitations of word based song titles dubbing each of the 32(!) tracks with roman numerals-even when they cover Napalm Death's "Social Sterility" on "XXI". Terminal velocity is a constant with the exception of the cover, “XIV” and “XV” which either lurch in part or in full. Interestingly, a small handful of spoken word samples proceed five tracks and are possessed of a genuinely morbid sense of humor. The brief gags don’t take away from the music so much as keep the listener focused on the subject. If the seemingly humorless members of Tool can do it, why not Mumakil?

If Mumakil set out to have one of the best grind/death albums of 2007, consider the mission accomplished. This demonstration of unrestrained violence is executed to perfection from the pummeling musicianship to the transcendent production quality. The album's depth and clarity is so uncharacteristic as to possibly upset fans of the genre's more raw precedent. If anything stunts Warfare from reaching it’s full potential, it’s that the songs are too brief to allow growth and development. Such is the nature of the beast perhaps but Mumakil often elude to an appreciation of complex song structure, particularly during “XXII”. While booming brevity and crystal clarity aren't flaws some may be too overwhelmed by the constant fury of this album to handle it in one sitting....Pansies.

Highs: The instrumentation plays out like sequenced detonations while blistering vocals run the gamut of bottom heavy death, shrieking grind and all of the serrated inbetweens.

Lows: Few. An Attempt to tread into the 4 minute song lengths and beyond couldn’t hurt.

Bottom line: Unimpeded grind and death in a head on collision. A must have album for 2007.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)