Album: Reborn to Kill
Heavy hitting riffs, vocals delivered from the bowels of the depths; when it comes to wretched music, Pathology are no strangers. Having released their first album in 2006, Pathology have paved their way to sit upon the throne of heavy-weight slam artists. With their newest release, “Reborn to Kill,” a new side is shown. More time was spent contemplating each note, each guttural utterance that sends shivers down one’s spine, each ambient guitar thrown into the mix. Pathology are straying from their normal go-to formula and adding some extra spice to their discography. Each song averages around two-minutes, leaving the listener wanting more. There is much to be discovered in this album, slaking the listeners’ thirst for something new.
With “Reborn to Kill,” there are a few new members joining in to add some dynamic alterations to the album. Leading the charge on vocals is Obie Flett, having once been in the band in 2010 and shredding audiences apart in Inherit Disease. Dan Richardson from Lord of War begins the opening track, “Hieroglyphs on Cement Walls” with a chuggy riff, letting the listeners know that Pathology still means business. The mixing on this album is some of the clearest mixing heard since “Awaken to the Suffering,” adding clarity and defined precision to the record. Every note hits like a bomb, emphasized by daedal drumming done by Dave Astor. “Hieroglyphics on Cement Walls” acts as a preparation for what the album has to offer without giving away all the surprises.
“Forced Regression” comes in hot with slow blast beats and dissonant chords to make listeners feel sheer terror. A sudden change of pace enters the scene with slow guitar strumming; the heaviness is still present, but Richardson adds character with this welcomed style of guitar playing. Slam’s job is to make the listener feel anguish, brutality, and uplifted in one song, and a mesh of emotions throughout one album. The prettiness of “Forced Regression” was only a false sense of safety before ending the song with one brutalizing slam. A grating scream excites the eardrums as the song comes to a quick close. One thing this album does is slow things down; focusing more on crushing spiels screeching from the guitars that make one listen in depth to what is happening, whereas “The Time of Purification” is meant to get the heart racing from excitement and panic.
With “The Beast Within,” the ambience continues and a face-splattering lick cleanses for the swelling storm of brutish marching-esque slamming performed by guitars and bass. Coming to a quick close, the songs continually begin to go by quicker as the album progresses, each track leaving the listener with a pattern to remember. “Frothing at The Mouth” is a title depicting what Flett must be doing to hit such nasty notes. The guitar gets a left-eared solo before the drums and bass enter following a triplet pattern, making one’s heart skip a beat. Delicious melodies are heard from Richardson, influence from Lord of War mise en scène. With mixed tremolo and elongated riffing, the song comes to an end.
“Dragged into the Cave” starts and stops, adding emphasis to the violence embedded in the song. Triplet riffage with two-step-approved drumming allow for precisely what you expect out of Pathology. Handing over a dissonant breakdown with a hefty bass-drop, this song makes listeners feel the moist depths of the darkest cave that Flett plans to drag us all into. Throwing in a twangy bell-hit, Astor continues to boast his drumming versatility. A much more low-key entrance comes “Pit of Bones,” a song where notes and vocals begin to shift. Flett lets out a wailing scream, allowing listeners to truly understand what is being said. Richardson throws in some gnarly arpeggio-sweeping and canorous playing. This is where Richardson and bassist Ricky Jackson appear to thrive; while the song continues to ebb and flow between brutality and melodicy, there isn’t one moment this song leaves the listener time to look away. “Pit of Bones” gives a hint at what future releases may hold, continuing this trend of altering the books of slamming death metal.
“The Druid’s Gavel” is low and slow, trudging down to a gentle crawl. The notes can be deciphered, the ambience fills the air with the feeling of creeping death. By combining the power within all members of the band, this song seems to stick out the most. It’s the most defined on the album, almost made to throw fans of the band off. My first though upon listening was, “this is Pathology?” which rejuvenated my ears. When bands try new things, it can always be hit or miss; this is a song that, if you’re looking for straight-up bone-crushing devastation, skip to the next. This song is meant to act as a sort of interlude before diving right back into the bloodshed. “Crematorium Flames” delves into the sinister and flowy scales known and loved, but the new discovery of eclecticism carries on the polished instrumentals. This song is where Jackson thrives, being put at the front of the mix. With the paralyzing chords, the smooth bass begins to arpeggiate over what Richardson plays, only to drive a stake by whipping out another intricate solo.
“Stone Axe Dismemberment” and “Predation.” turn up the speed slightly but don’t continue the train of new additions. They throw in extra songs that old fans and new will continue to eat up, as heavy is what Pathology is known for. Fans looking for the band to play around more with their softer side, look to “Celestial Condemnation,” a song that brings Flett’s most disturbing screams to life while Richardson still brings the atmosphere with clean guitars. The song changes many times from heavy to soft, ending with a chordal guitar that has broken the theme from previous records.
Overall, Pathology’s latest work, “Reborn to Kill,” brings out the best aspects of the bands. While they left the quick, fast slams behind them it seems, they continue to grow as musicians by adding in new dynamics previously unheard from Pathology. With chordal guitars, atmosphere, and lots of buildup and tension, “Reborn to Kill” will leave fans old and new with some exciting jams to add to their playlists. The ultimate take-away from this album is that you will be left wanting more from each song. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end to each one, yet I am left wanting more from Pathology. They added new textures and tangy flavors to this new release, revivifying my interest in what music truly has to offer. Fans looking for straight forward gore and bloodshed will find an adequate amount in this release but will also find the urge to point to the sky and scream with Flett (if you can go that low).
“Reborn to Kill” out this Friday, August 9th, 2019!
FFO: Kraanium, Analypsy, Putridity