In recent times, it has become apparent to me just how desensitized I have become to highly technical, extreme metal music. That isn’t to say of course, that I don’t like it, and don’t frequently get into moods where it is pretty much all I listen to. However, with the advent of the current generation of digital distribution, and the advancements in music recording technology, there is a lot (massive understatement) of extreme, mind boggling music out there that is instantaneously accessible. The bottom line is that I have become much more critical of this type of music because of what is likely a simple case of sensory overload. And then along comes German technical death metal newbies Sophicide’s debut release Perdition of the Sublime to reinvigorate my love of the genre, a gorgeous collection of neck wrenching tech-metal behemoths, and is a must own (I emphasize own) for fans of the genre.
The band roars out of the gates with the crushing introduction “The Art of Atrocity”, a straight to the point, full throttle death metal monster, which is interestingly enough, one of the simpler songs on the album in terms of barebones structure. “Within Darkness” is the album’s single, so to speak. It is, in the context of this style of music, the most accessible song on the album, with strong nods to early Cannibal Corpse and Autopsy. This is another straight forward death metal song, crafted for the sole purpose of riling up fans in a live setting. The title track follows, and this is where the sound shifts rather dramatically into a more schizophrenic, extremely technical death metal. This is heavy, yet somehow groovy and melodic all at the same time. Props must be given to vocalist for his absolutely devastating delivery of a wide range of vicious growls. The outro of this particular track is immense, with an interesting contrast of atmosphere and brutality.
“Of Lust and Vengeance” begins with a latin themed acoustic intro, followed seamlessly by the album’s only real mid-tempo song, the tech death equivalent of a power ballad. Interesting stuff going on particularly in the staggered guitars and tasty drums, but probably the weakest song on display. “Exercration” is a brutal, sinister, balls to the wall grindfest, punctuated by awesome breakdowns and sporadic blasts that plainly put: rip. “Blood For Honor” is the tech experiment of the release. It is chock full of pummeling brutal moments, followed by soft, mid-tempo acoustic segments and lead guitars that are all over the placve. The chanting that begins towards the second half makes me want to pick up a torch and burn something to the ground. “Freedom of Mind” is another fast one (relatively speaking), but kind of comes and goes with little impact. Like every other song on display, it has a lot of things going for it, including a pretty killer solo that briefly interrupts the chaos about half way through.
“Folie Á Deux” is a totally forgettable little interlude that leads into the next full song, and while tasty, will no doubt be relegated to “skip” mode going forward. “Lafayette’s Deception” is easily my favorite, with a neurotic, ever shifting song structure, with small hints of vintage black metal even a thunderous verse that seems like it would be at home on an early 90′s Bathory release. The vocals are particularly insane here. “Dawn of a New Age” is ridiculous. There is not much more to say. It’s so heavy, so bombastic, so melodic I can hardly wrap my head around it, and sports a blistering solo at the tail end that left me breathless. How does one cap off such a high quality album that will leave the listener yearning for more, regardless of this album’s freshness? End it with a song like “The Essence of Warfare.” With psychotic, machine gun percussion, progressively heavier riffs strongly remisicent of Jeff Loomis and hints of the modern polyrthmic metal scene, this song has it all and if its goal was to incite the desire to maul a fellow human to death, then it succeeded with ease. The mid tempo, creepy outro also helps.
Production wise, there really is little to say. It is perfection. With digital technology, a band can essentially create whatever sound it desires, and the one on display here is polished, mechanical, face smashing power. Every instrument is clear and audible (with the exception of the bass, which hardly surprises me at this point). The vocals are flawlessly mixed. Really there are no complaints. At the end of the day, this is one of the most promising debuts I’ve ever heard, and a staggeringly high quality release. Get it. Get it now!