Pathology: Awaken to the Suffering

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Pathology: Awaken to the Suffering
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Pathology: Awaken to the Suffering
Brutal Death Metal
Victory Records
September 13th, 2011
Release length: 33:58
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After a very strong debut on Victory Records with their fourth full-length offering, Pathology return roughly a year later with their follow-up to Legacy of the Ancients. Awaken to the Suffering continues the band’s conspiracy theory-based lyrics, as well as continues to carry a similar crushing sound as their last album did. The San Diego, California band wasted no time in getting back into the studio to record their fifth full-length in five years, their first being Surgically Hacked which came out the year the band formed: 2006. But has this band taken any steps to evolve as a group, or are we looking at the same, yet highly enjoyable Pathology we’ve come to expect as of late?

First of all, Awaken to the Suffering is yet another soul crushing Brutal Death Metal release musically. The audio is pretty clean, but the guitars have the heavy, deeper distortion one might find in a modern Deathcore offering moreso then one of today’s releases in this style. The bass is deep and loud, having a performance that backs the guitars, but also one you can easily feel vibrating from the speakers. The drums have a decent volume to the kit with the cymbols not being that loud, but audible enough to clearly pick up on, the snares are about the same level and sound like what a typical Death Metal snare should sound like, but at the same time the bass kicks are also loud, though having a click very close to what those snares sound like, so during heavy snare-driven portions of music, it becomes pretty hard to distinguish one from another, especially when you just sit down and pop the CD. Due to the focus on them and not so much the bass kicks, the song “Dissected By Righteousness” can actually sound like it has no kicks at all.

But, while the music is tight, the vocals and the music being played pose the most hindering of problems. Pathology does have some crushing material, and often on the recording there’s some solid Brutal Death Metal being played. But, songs like “Dissected by Righteousness” seem to have more of that Deathcore chug to it similar to what Suicide Silence would put out. There are breakdowns on here that many bands in that style who also sound like that band, or even Suicide Silence‘s early material, that aren’t lazy in any sense, but really are not the most amazing, and quickly start to sound alike to other songs on here. The same can sadly be said for the music, having a heavier focus on simpler chugging chords and maybe having a random additional set of notes appear once in a while to throw you off with a hint of variety. These heavily chugging tracks really end up lacking a lot of variety, and while the music can feel punishing most of the time, you can’t help but feel it’s bland and become bored of it quickly, not really being able to tell much of a difference between the aforementioned starting track “Dissected by Righteousness” and later songs like “Hostility Towards Conformity” outside maybe the tempo and some random additional notes being thrown in for good measure. But sadly, this is not the worst of what this album has to offer.

The vocals on Awaken to the Suffering are just as insufferable at times. While the music may end up sounding repetitive, the band does manage to throw in some really energetic performances that make one song stand out more then the other. This is the case with much of “Hostility Towards Conformity,” though you feel like you already heard it, the energy from the band definitely ends up saving it somewhat, and the atmosphere when it slows down towards the end is pretty dismal as well. Another complaint to be found here, which happens elsewhere on the album, is the sudden stop, then awkward jerking start that slams in on varying tracks which feels edited and not natural to the album. Take this with the somewhat energetic sounding vocals, and you’ll be at a loss for words. While Legacy of the Ancients had a strong fixation on the deeper gutturals, this one basically does the same deep guttural growl that sounds from the back of the throat for a sickening effect, and it works the first song you hear it on. This same guttural squeel tone is carried onto each track, though some songs will have a much deeper guttural sound performance on one, such as “Society’s Desolation” which, again, features chugging music similar to what you heard already through the album, but has a good amount of energy to keep it exciting. But, that different guttural approach simply doesn’t last long, and the gurgling gutturals return. There’s also an abundance of higher pitch pig squeels found on some tracks like “Dissected by Righteousness” where they flip flop between that and the gurgling style.

Sadly, the album feels generic thanks to it’s more chugging musical approach and bland vocals saved only by some energy behind them, which is the same for the music. Though this isn’t to say the entire album is bad due to these faults. “Hostility Towards Conformity” really does have a great deal of strong, crushing material that will grab the listener by the throat and strangle the life out of him or her thanks to the energetic performance and faster pace that makes the song really stand out despite the repetitive vocals. “Prolonging the Suffering” makes for a nice brief instrumental interlude that has a little more atmosphere to it similar to something you would find on an Oceano album, which is something that does appear here sometimes in the guitars on other tracks and does sound nice, adding a little more variety to the songs that you know you did switch tracks somewhere. “Humanity’s Cesspool” really stands out nicely with it’s more Brutal Death Metal guitars that aren’t just simple non-stop chugging and are actually catchy, all backed with an energetic performance and varying guttural squeels and some equally intense breakdowns that feel natural to the track’s progression from start to finish. It also has a guitar solo, which no other track before it seems to have, and while it’s not the most amazing, it definitely helps the song stand out and even amp up in intensity for a short period of time. “Opposing Globalization,” however, is a bit of a tease as the song starts off with a fantastic Brutal Death Metal sound with lots of energy and a great guitar solo before slipping into more strong material along the same genre lines, but lacks that energy and catchiness as it slows down to a crawl and seems to want to gradually slip back into more of the heavily generic chugging, but luckily it never comes and the rest of the song remains very enjoyable.

Overall, Awaken to the Suffering is a grab bag of generic Deathcore idolworship and really talented Brutal Death Metal tracks that come out of nowhere. Pathology really dropped the ball here by making many of the songs sound like the same recycled chugging riffs over and over with very little variety to really make the songs stand out. You also have to contend with the vocals that, while deep and intimidating for the most part, become boring and repetitive after the first few songs. When the band really does go all out with some intense Brutal Death Metal that doesn’t focus on simple chugging riffs, it leaves you feeling punished, beaten down with the heaviest of blunt instruments that you can find for a release of that style. The breakdowns during these points are great, the solos are not the most amazing and are sadly extremely limited on here for some reason, and the energy is quite often through the roofs, making you feel like you’re on the receiving end of a multi-attacker curb stomping. Whatever was the reason for Pathology to record a release like this simply cannot justify this outcome. Pathology had plenty of potential to be one of the bigger Brutal Death Metal names out there, but instead opted to sound more like Suicide Silence, Waking the Cadavre, Job for a Cowboy, Oceano, Whitechapel without the intersting guitarwork, and so many other names in the Deathcore scene that have succumb to sounding like one another with few differences to seperate their tracks and themselves from the Deathcore orgy and present themselves as seperate entities. Awaken to the Suffering is a huge let down and a waste of talent, but if you like crushing, chugging Deathcore inspired material that pretty much becomes Suicide Silence‘s bitch, then this Pathology effort will be right up your alley.

01. Dissected by Righteousness – 3:47
02. Ingestion of Creation – 2:56
03. Hostility Towards Conformity – 2:40
04. Media Consumption – 2:16
05. Society’s Desolation – 3:08
06. Prolonging the Suffering – 1:16
07. A Perverse Existence – 2:06
08. Humanity’s Cesspool – 4:05
09. Festering in Filth – 1:50
10. Opposing Globalization – 3:11
11. Emesis – 3:42
12. Revocation of Earth – 1:12
Overall Score: 3/10
Pathology (band)
Pathology
Digital review copy of this release provided by Victory Records.