Crimson Death - Death is Essential
Podre Productions
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (46:36)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Al

After my sojourn into the world of the relative mainstream by reviewing Katatonia last week I feel it’s time for something deliciously underground. Chances are you’ve never heard of Crimson Death, I certainly hadn’t when undergoing my usual random selection process for picking a band to review. The reason that makes this band rather unique is that they hail from Peru, not exactly a well known hotbed of melodic death metal talent. With the lack of a promo sheet combined with the fact that the band’s website doesn’t seem to work and a trawl through Myspace revealed nothing there is very little I can tell you about the band aside from their music. Thus I’m afraid I will have to skip past my usual ‘band background’ trivia and press on with what really matters, the music.

There is something I have to make clear first and foremost as it is by far the most negative aspect of the album. The production on Death is Essential is more than a little lacking. The vocals have a tendency to randomly fall away into the cacophony and are unintelligible a lot of the time, the drums sound decidedly tinny at times and the guitar sound aside from the solos seems to centre around a low end buzzing, significantly lowering the impact of the often dynamic riffs. This can all combine at some points to give you feeling that you are listening to this band through a brick wall, awesome it is not. Bass seems to be the only instrument done justice as it is nicely audible throughout.

That out the way, the band vaguely resembles early Dark Tranquillity at times, albeit with a generally slower tempo. The vocals are of the unmelodic deep growling variety and do their job adequately. There’s nothing really special about them, but they never grate and complement the music fine. Crimson Death’s strong point is definitely the riffing. The twin (I think) guitar lines intertwine with laudable skill and complexity, relying on a dynamic sense of melody and tempo. The solos are well conceived and also complement the sound admirably. The drums on the other hand tend to be slightly drab, with nothing that seems to leap out to me. Again not a massive detractor from the sound and it may also have a lot to do with the production but this is one aspect of their sound Crimson Death need to spice up a bit.

The album keeps a consistent quality throughout, with no tracks that struck me as particularly weak. The album opener Facing the End is a bit repetitive and monotonous and doesn’t quite keep to the standard of the rest of the album. It does however feature a more than decent solo at the end which just manages to save it from the perils of my skip button. The flipside to the consistency is that nothing seems to stand out as particularly defining either. There are highlights such as Cyanide which exhibits a great sense of melody and tempo and a frankly addictive ‘chorus’. Parallel World also deserves an honourable mention simply because halfway through it drops the buzzing riffs and vocals to serve up a minimalist instrumental section featuring one of the finest solos on the album. It’s the biggest departure in sound from the rest of the album and shows that the band are capable of more than they let on.

All in all this an above average release brought down to an average level by a distinctly shoddy production job. This may have more than a little to do with geographical location as I can’t imagine Peru has any state of the art recording studios, but then again I’m not even certain that the album was recorded in the band’s native country. If the band develops the facilities to get someone decent behind the decks then I feel they could be a more interesting prospect. The sound and ability are undoubtedly there, they just need to purvey it in a more palatable aural package. I expect better things from these guys in the future and will endeavour to keep an eye on them.

Killing Songs :
Cyanide and Parallel World
Al quoted 60 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:42 pm
View and Post comments