Saprogenic: Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs

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Saprogenic: Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs
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Saprogenic: Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs
Brutal Death Metal
Willowtip Records
August 27th, 2013
Release length: 43:39
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It’s been a good seven years since we’ve had a new album from Detroit, Michigan’s own Saprogenic. The group formed back in 2001, and left us with two full-length albums, 2003’s The Wet Sound of Flesh on Concrete and 2006’s follow-up Ichmeumonid, before essentially going off the grid. Now fans who waited anxiously for another dose of American made Brutal Death Metal can rejoice with the release of Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs, which is being released through Willowtip Records. With two solid releases to live up to, does Saprogenic deliver the recording fans have been waiting for?

Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs shows a band that has a sturdy grip on the Brutal Death Metal genre, but treads the line between having its own voice, and coming off a bit generic. Saprogenic wastes no time with “Removing a Phantom Limb,” hammering in with blunt, deeply tuned guitars and bass, as well as superb sounding drums all around. There’s a hint of enthusiasm found in the performance, something that appears throughout the recording, but the vocals end up rather bland despite the low, menacing gutturals used, showing brief range through the brief rasps that come into play. The drumming on “Choking Victim” is top notch, allowing the punishing groove to stick out a little more. The pace and precision changes a few times throughout, bringing in a brief pig squeal that brings it back to how it all began to wrap things up.

The timing in the drums against the slower guitar chords of “Below Death” does come off a bit like an extended slam breakdown, but a little more going on to give the blunt edge more lethality upon impact. The tension in the latter half does grow as the pace and intensity continue to shift the further you get. “Carve Your Fears in Flesh” feels as though it trudges along and drags you with it, but not in a bad way. The slower pace causes the music to sound abrasive at times, and when things pick up, it’s like a second wind gained only through panic before succumbing to the loss of hope once more. But, of all the songs, “Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs” stands out the most. The bass kicks hammer away with a tight cymbal presence during the main verses, working with the catchy guitar riffs to create a subtle groove you’ll instinctively bang your head along to. The material does become somewhat chaotic later on, ushering in some vile guitar work with a hint of technicality. The only thing this cut craves is a little more energy to match the many infectious bouts, especially in the vocals.

Of course, you cannot ignore the surprising Dissection cover track that appears at the end of the release. “Night’s Blood” takes the band into an obviously different direction, and it sounds surprisingly good. The vocals gain a little more range thanks to the somewhat gurgling raspy vocals, though they are a bit muffled, as well as crack from time to time. The rich audio quality and sound of each instrument, including a more traditional Black Metal distortion to the guitar, all sound great. Even the acoustic notes around the three minute mark come through well. Saprogenic really do adapt to the sound of the original well enough to make an excellent cover that even the late Jon Nödtveidt would approve of.

Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs isn’t the most awe-inspiring of Brutal Death Metal, nor the most unique, but Saprogenic definitely don’t disappoint. This recording is just a solid representation of the style from the late nineties into the early two thousands with the sole focus of being heavy and punishing, which it does well. Sure it could have used a little more enthusiasm here and there, and the vocals could have had a little more range, but these are more cosmetic issues than ones that effect that abilities of the band themselves. With plenty of songs that will have you banging your head along, Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs is a blunt slab of Brutal Death that is a safe bet for fans of the style.

01. Removing a Phantom Limb – 2:32
02. Eat My Heart – 4:45
03. Choking Victim – 3:32
04. Below Death – 3:27
05. Ritual Blaze – 4:30
06. Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs – 4:00
07. Mutated Deception – 3:04
08. Carve Your Fears in Flesh – 3:21
09. Navigating the Human Eye – 3:30
10. Haruspication – 3:46
11. Night’s Blood (Dissection cover) – 7:14
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Saprogenic
Saprogenic

Digital review copy of this release provided by Willowtip Records.