Rotten Records 2009
North Carolina's own experimental death metal alchemists return with their sophomore effort. The Calm Before the Storm is anything but, as a cacophonous explosion of drums and guitar harmonics collide and bend into bulbous riffs. Simplistic keyboards contrast against technical tempos and quirky riffs for a nonstop rollercoaster ride. The highlight of the album though takes a different shape as tripped out, sonic spacescapes bring an aura of nebular serenity on Ominous Winds. Shimmering guitars ripple over thick bass lines while ghostly female vocals drift like subconscious musings. Amor Fati leans even further into fields of tranquility with spacey synths and acoustic guitars. Picking up immediately though is the bouncing riffs of Darkhouse which has an almost nu-metal feel to it which I loathe. Luckily the song quickly changes to a faster and more dynamic approach that sheds these nu-metal trappings. Carven Bones rips through your mind with swirling drums and surging and ebbing guitars that are in constant motion for the first two minutes of the song. A welcome break gives us a momentary respite at the 2:20 mark though sludge covered scalpels in the form of strings slice new wounds into the listener's skull thereafter. album closer, Omens treads similar ground to Ominous Winds with a dreamlike or astral quality to its soothing music though this track is certainly heavier, utilizing beefier riffs and pounding drums while relying on synths for most of the atmosphere. Gollum uses samples throughout which add an interesting, almost post-hardcore feel to the album somewhat similar to Statue or Mean Season. On The Core Gollum explore frayed edges within Death metal's distant realms while retaining its core heaviness. This is on the verge of not really connecting with death metal's essence anymore though anyone who appreciates music that is both open-minded and HEAVY will certainly drink deeply from this wellspring of inspired extremity.