Never to Arise: Hacked to Perfection

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Never to Arise: Hacked to Perfection
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Never to Arise: Hacked to Perfection
Death Metal
badGod Music
May 15th, 2012
Release length: 50:42
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Coming to us from St. Petersburg, Florida, Never to Arise is a two-piece Death Metal act that finds themselves on the lesser known label badGod Music (note it’s not a typo) who’s only other signed act is the group Black Crow King. This venture is composed of Michael Kilborn on guitar and bass, and Gordon Denhart handling more guitar work, as well as vocals and the drum machine programming. Hacked to Perfection marks the group’s debut full-length album, following the group’s formation roughly two years earlier. Has there been enough time for this two man army to wage war, or is this simply a battle that they cannot win?

Hacked to Perfection carries a typical low-budget raw production quality that clearly wasn’t too intentional, as well as a clearly amplified volume level of music that initially was probably podded down too low for their liking. Either way, it still sounds alright. The guitars are rather loud and have a traditional Death Metal distortion that has a sharpness to it, but clearly is a little muffled thanks to further production work and an echo effect. The bass is present, but for the most part is so low it becomes drowned out horribly by the already loud guitars, making very little impact on the music aside for held chords in a solo or other such matters that give a slight gap to the music. The drums aren’t too bad, but just have that robotic sound to them, especially in the cymbals where there’s no natural ringing out when hit, as well as sound too low. The snares seem pretty tight, but end up not being anything too impressive either, lacking any real energy aside joining the cymbals in impossible blastbeats. The bass kicks carry more of a thud to them, and it works for the most part, but still are just not too engaging. Unfortunately, this becomes a huge problem when working with a drum machine, leading to a large chunk of the music to sound rather lifeless in all literal terms, as well as sometimes before completely run, such as the loud high hats during “Sloppy Surgery.”

The lack of enthusiasm in some of the songs, as well as the conflict between raw and dirty chords against a crisp and pristine drum machine, really can make it hard to get into Hacked to Perfection. But, for the most part, the guitars and bass try to compensate the enthusiasm a little. “The Femicidal Impulse” kicks things off with blistering drums and fast paced chords that feel both heavy and dirty as they tear away at your face, but eventually the material goes into a mid-tempo pace with simplistic Death Metal chords that really don’t offer much outside a disparraging atmosphere with Behemoth-esque intensity. It’s still pretty easy to bang your head along to the beat, and aside a larger stretch coming up to the three minute mark, it does offer enough brutality to keep you listening. “Snuff Film Superstar” doesn’t quite reach speeds as fast as “The Femicidal Impulse,” but it does give a similar blunt fury which keeps you content amid the chaotic and heavily varied shifts that occur throughout, though again finding only part of the music really being enthusiastic. Again, the drums don’t quite deliver on the same level as the guitars, but sound a little stronger overall, held back only by the focus on the cymbals and how quickly they cut out instead of that natural fading sound.

“Mutilation Supreme” is far better, and the best the album has to offer. The faster pace and enthusiasm from the guitars, as well as slightly cleaner tone, really helps to eradicate the robotic and mechanical sound of the drums. This will instantly have you banging your head right along to the beat, even during the guitar solos that usually feel a little open due to the level of the bass. The somewhat technical chords that occur in the chorus are highly infectious and really add to the total chaos being given off. The only issue becomes the Slam-style breakdown towards the end that kicks in abruptly, and while not bad, it lacks the deeper kick that a shift like this desperately needs. Aside the slower bit outlined, much of that can also go for “I Made Her Famous.” The track again finds a far more chaotic presence, but the energy in the human-like blasting from the drums along with the atmospheric chords really sets the track apart from the rest, even towards the just below expected mid-tempo pace for the guitar solo as you reach the conclusion.

“Sloppy Surgery” offers up some pretty intense material throughout, and the guttural vocals that are pushed a bit behind the overly loud guitars works out in the long run. But, honestly, the impossible breakneck blastbeats end up just sounding horrible to the dismal guitar riffs. These sections really leave something more to be desired from them. Some of the gradual building guitar chords, such as around the two minute and forty second mark, also sound pretty rough since the drums don’t change in the slightest to accompany some of the higher chords and the tension they are trying to build, actually clashing with the snares. Unfortunately “In Debasement” just finds the guitars and drums often working at different rhythms entirely. It was impossible to even figure out what beat I was supposed to try to bang my head along to here. The chords take on a creepier tone with some subtle changes to what they are playing as well, but the drums don’t change in the slightest to accompany that shift.

Hacked to Perfection is exactly what you would expect from a low-budget Death Metal album. The volume levels are just really screwy, the drums are too crisp against rough and raw guitars, the bass is low to nonexistent, and overall it’s a mixture of enthusiasm and mechanics depending on how much of the drums are covered, and how intense the performance is while sticking to human restrictions. There are a good amount of enjoyable songs, though nothing really too amazing, and then there are a few that really go for the throat and simply refuse to let go. Either way, the debut Never to Arise album clearly has a rough start, but the more you get into it, the more some of the faults really don’t matter, offering up some filthy debautchery and murderous intent to bang your head along to.

01. The Femicidal Impulse – 4:08
02. Hyperbaric Torture Chamber – 4:55
03. Sloppy Surgery – 5:31
04. In Debasement – 3:57
05. Mutilation Supreme – 6:05
06. Bereft of Conscience – 4:04
07. I Made Her Famous – 4:23
08. Snuff Film Superstar – 3:42
09. Devoured by Wolves – 3:51
10. Misogynistic Acts of Barbaric Sadism – 9:00
Overall Score: 6.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by badGod Music via Clawhammer PR.