“Born in 2008 in Lowell, MA, Pathogenic is the perfect combination of intelligent progressive metal and the heaviness and brutality of death metal. Pathogenic has independently released two records, LP “Cyclopean Imagery” (2011) and EP “The Solipsist Dream” (2012) and will release of their second full-length record “PATHOGENIC” on September 13, 2019. “PATHOGENIC” is the first release for the band with vocalist David Benites, who took over for long-time vocalist Jake Burns in 2018.” – Rilee Dubilo, Manager
The blending of different genres is nothing short of difficult. The amount you incorporate can make or break a song/album. With Pathogenic, it helps knowing that there is something for everybody here. Some songs have more progressive metalcore influence while others have more deathcore influence. However, listening to the album in one sitting is heavily recommended. Songs like the lead single, “Suicide Itch,” make more sense within the contextualization of previous songs.
“Testimony” enters with rather beautiful acoustic guitar. There are birds chirping and ambience echoing in the ear. The acoustic guitar plays a melody that rings throughout the rest of the song, a testament that Pathogenic aren’t afraid to show off their cleaner side. The bass is booming and crisp, hitting every note to add a little extra thickness. The electric guitars slide in, playing along to the melody as if rising from the ashes. Quickly though, things get ugly as new vocalist David Benites shows off his ungodly vocals. The guitars sound deadly, boasting a growl that works for chordal work and heavy chugging. Benites shows off that he can scream like the devil but sing like an angel. Heavy influences from Shadow of the Colossus appear; blending the dichotomy of facial deconstruction and wound healing. Clocking in at 8 minutes, this song has a bit of everything; there’s clean and pretty composition while simultaneously sliding the harmonizing of high and low screams into the mix and having the two aspects come to meet when the atmospheric rhythms and craftsmanship of combining both screaming and singing enter.
“Ghost” is one of my personal favorites from the album. So much thought was put into this song with the atmosphere displayed. The mixture of screaming and singing, sounding as if there’s real ghosts sitting inside your speakers, it’s a perfect song. It’s one of the more straight-forward songs of the album but fits perfectly within the story betwixt the first half of the album’s story. There are interesting patterns being thrown into the mix, many points where the drums choke the cymbals opposed to keeping up the pattern, which was a unique way to play along with the string’s patterns. The song comes to a pause and there’s a piano playing eerie music while the guitar wind up slowly. There’s triads being thrown into the mix, and notes elongated before ending and diving right into the next song.
“The Danger in Well Crafted Words” stars off with some old-school vibes. The instrumental work reminds one of climbing a high mountain and finally reaching the top; there’s layers to each instrument’s playing. The drums play a syncopated rhythm while the acoustic guitar makes another appearance. The bass is intertwined with everything the drums are doing, adding a groovy feeling while the guitar plays some interesting high-note palm-muted sections. The song continues this pretty-yet-aggressive vibe even when the vocals come in. As the song continues, it feels as though Between the Buried and Me had a love child with Meshuggah. It’s got high melodies while the riffs rip and tear. The drums go dangerously fast, blasting off into space. Later, the song goes back to a groovy section. The bass… to die for. Tonal perfection, and the gentleness of each note really feeds the fuel to the instrumental’s fire.
“Suicide Itch,” one of the leading singles, fits more within the album than individually. It’s gnarly, it’s heavy, but it has much more texture when you hear it right after “The Danger in Well Crafted Worlds.” It’s got sporadic hits in the beginning and feels everywhere, but it fits with the song’s title. It’s to remind the listener of the twitch one feels when suicidal tendencies feed the mind. The tremolo picking is rapid, feeling as though bees are swarming all around the mind. This song is meant to portray the insanity that is felt when suicide appears to be the only way out. It feels as though nobody else would get it, it feels like there’s no escape, because how can you escape the one person you’re supposed to trust – yourself? The song comes to a pause in the middle, and the drums begin to get busy. Playing around with rhythms on the toms, the other instruments match them until it comes to a head. “We are hopeless,” Benites screams into the mic, and the feeling of hopelessness is truly there.
Overall, Pathogenic’s self-titled album is delicious and flavorful. There is a lot going on in the first half: clean melodies, harsh vocals, but the general feeling is violence with alteration. It’s an album that has everything I look for: good blending, pattern and tempo changes, and most importantly: surprises. There were many points where I thought I knew what was coming and then I’d be wrong. It’s unique and it incorporates so much music theory while still appealing to all audiences of extreme metal. If there’s one song you think is too heavy, there’s a lighter song to listen to; if a song is too soft, there are heavier songs to rock out to. Fantastic album and will definitely be on people’s Album of the Year lists.
FFO: Whitechapel, Cattle Decapitation, Between the Buried and Me, Meshuggah