|Death Metal, Thrash Metal
September 27th, 2011
Release length: 36:57
The quality of the album is not shocking at all considering the group’s higher production releases in the past. The drums stand out nice with a strong click to the bass kicks that simply sound dominating with snares that sound equally strong with a distinctive pounding to them with a great level on the cymbals that allow them to be heard and crash out properly without overtaking anything. The guitars are heavy with a blunt edge to them that is enhanced nicely with the loud bass that could be felt so that both can hammer away at the listener. The vocals are a raspier screaming style without going overboard with actual screaming like you might find on a The Haunted album or similar Melodic Death Metal bands, that one might expect more from an earlier Death Metal act, harmonizing nicely with a commanding authority to them, suiting nicely to some of the more melodic moments brought on by the Thrash Metal chords mixing with the Death Metal intensity. The sound does feel a little muggy though, having a thick sound to it instead of being cleaner, and while being too clean can hurt an album pretty bad, this time around you kind of wish it were. Due to the thicker sound, it seems to just hold back the intensity a bit, which is sad given the energetic performance Hatesphere brings into this recording and all the mandatory head banging moments you will happen upon.
And that’s one of the greatest things about this album. Pretty much each track contains a great deal of energy, intensity, solid hooks at times, and a commanding atmosphere that causes each track to ensure mandatory head banging. “The Killer” introduces you to this, and while it may not have the most commanding approach, the catchier Thrash intensity is there and will grab you by the throat, leaving you bob your head along while showing you what lies ahead. Some songs don’t really get heavier than this one, and the song does show that thicker audio does hinder the music a bit, especially with how the cymbols turn out in the final mix, but overall the more aggressive performance really makes up for some of the audio issues it causes. “Smell of Death” makes for another energetic and intense track, far more than “The Killer,” and with that it shows that the quality and overall performance can really make you not even notice some of the problems with the audio, more thanks to the faster pace it seems. The guitar solo that kicks in does allow that thickness to seep in a bit, but in no way does it ruin the overall experience of the song or that solo.
Many of the songs here stick to the general three to five-minute time length for this style, having only two that go over it, and two songs you can typically call one track split up that fits in here as well. “Venom” is the first, clocking in at a little over six minutes, and some of that can be tied to the slower acoustic introduction of the track, but this is also one of the more aggressive tracks on here. Really capturing a strong Thrash foundation then anything else, the song’s intensity showcases early on what the band is capable of sometimes, but never really goes too overboard with things. Vocally, it remains the same kind of raspy style, you hear on other tracks, and while it feels restrained, it works very well for the song, especially when the gutturals are briefly introduced, and the higher screams are brought in momentarily at key moments to feed the want of the vocalist putting a little extra energy into it without going over-the-top with it throughout the whole song. This track is paced well with enough changes to the song to keep the listener interested, and becomes one of the more important cuts off the entire record to show the band’s potential that has been overlooked the past few releases, even though it may not be one of the mandatory head banging tracks from start to finish that this release seems to specialize in. “The Wail of My Threnode” makes for a nice slow, haunting introduction that segways that faster Thrash influence that hit before into a crawling, bludgeoning Death Metal foundation that comes through after bleeding into “Resurrect with a Vengeance.” This track’s crushing sound will have you banging your head along to its dismal atmosphere and pace until the song picks up about the half way point.
There really isn’t much to say negatively about this album aside that aforementioned audio issue. The only song on here that doesn’t quite feel as strong is the final longer track. “Need to Kill” rounds out these longer tracks, and while it’s an enjoyable track, the song is simply not one of the best and seems to be focused more on an uplifting melody and atmosphere then anything else. It’s a nice change of pace, but overall seems to stray from the established sound a little more than it should during those moments with verses and bridges that feel a bit recycled from material earlier on in this release. Despite that, the album closes well with “The Great Bludgeoning” coming before “Need to Kill” and really hammering another catchy yet intense track home, and closing with the more aggressive Thrash oriented “Devil in Your Own Hell” that closes this on a high note similar to how it all started with “The Killer.”
All in all, The Great Bludgeoning is a fantastic album. Even with its thicker audio quality, many songs here manage to really hit the listener hard, leaving much of the album a declaration of mandatory head banging, though the faster tracks often make the faults from the audio itself seem less visible. With only one song on here that really doesn’t seem to work out too well for the audio, the mixture of brutality and catchier material here makes for an album with a long-lasting replay appeal. Everything feels like it has fallen into place with the album. If you weren’t too satisfied with Hatesphere as of late, then now’s the time for you to check the band out again.
01. The Killer – 3:32
02. Venom – 6:09
03. Smell of Death – 3:43
04. Decayer – 4:55
05. The Wail of My Threnode – 1:17
06. Resurrect with a Vengeance – 4:20
07. The Great Bludgeoning – 4:34
08. Need to Kill – 5:28
09. Devil In Your Own Hell – 3:00
|Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10