Enthrallment – Smashed Brain Collection

It never ceases to amaze me how even the simplest, purest ideas can somehow be subcategorized. What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘death metal’? If you’re like me (and I’d say most people are with me on this one) you think of traditional DM such as Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Obituary, Deicide, and others. My mind doesn’t immediately flicker over to Nile or Vital Remains. So, if we’re in agreement on that point, why is it necessary to affix an ‘old-school’ prefix to every goddamned band that plays their genre in a traditional style? All you have to do is say you play death metal and we’ll get the idea! Is it really necessary to say that a band is ‘old-school’ just to tell us that the blast beats aren’t as triggered and there aren’t breakdowns? Sweet jesus.

Anyway, Enthrallment is one of those self-described ‘old-school’ death metal bands. Originating in Bulgaria, the band plays a style of death metal not entirely unlike a thrashy Deicide plus Suffocation. It is, as their description would indicate, purely traditional music with nary a trace of modernity anywhere in their sound. Blast beats are used sparingly and there are no breakdowns whatsoever. Putting ‘Smashed Brain Collection’ on your CD player will make you forget about everything and take you right back to 1993. While it is certainly not the most original music around, it’s handled capably and, for the most part, enjoyably. To be rather up-front, a fan of death metal probably won’t be disappointed by this record simply by virtue of its nearly universal appeal to fans of the genre. To put it simply, nothing is really done wrong.

Of course, such adherence to traditionalism will likely turn off those who are looking for more from their death metal. Devoted lovers of technicality, atmosphere, or prog elements will be sorely disappointed by a release such as this. Of course, such people would likely not purchase an album entitled ‘Smashed Brain Collection’, but I digress. The fact remains that as long as you aren’t seeking a spiritual tour de force, you’ll likely be pleased by this debut. On a somewhat more personal note, the production of this album, particularly on the guitar, seems rather unpleasant. The general tone is too high and thin, and lacks a solid bass presence, making it sound like Immortal playing death metal. On the flip side, this sonic lack allows the bass to fill in this role, allowing the underrated instrument to shine more than it is typically allowed.

This is another one of those albums that fans of the style will have likely already decided to purchase. So, in conclusion, fans can go for it, but the minds of detractors will likely not be changed.

(Originally written for http://www.vampire-magazine.com)

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~ by noktorn on November 19, 2006.

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