Exmortem - _Pestilence Empire_
(Osmose Productions, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (5 out of 10)
Supposedly making a few waves within the right circles of the underground, Exmortem have coughed up another raw and cold offering. The production on this record seems rather fuzzy, featuring drumming that is a little too quiet and a barely noticeable bass; _Pestilence Empire_ suffers from weak sonic foundations. Though the vocals are all present and correct, the energy of the performance doesn't quite translate as it should do. Yet this is an almost irrelevant complaint, as no amount of brilliant studio manipulation could make vocalist Simon's contribution to _PE_ interesting. For all his restricted power he manages to play out the worst possible role of an extreme vocalist; rather than stamping any authority over the music, he seems content to bellow incomprehensibly over the top of a bunch of riffs. Sadly, his performance matches the delivery of _Pestilence Empire_ quite well. The music is based heavily on fast-paced riffs, with a lot of melodic discordance. The song writing is consistently intense in mood but rather uninvolving, as the music moves into riff after mangled riff without much invention or variation. It is mock-progressive enough, delving into unconventional time signatures and chromatic breaks, but the songs lack structure and Exmortem feel distinctly hard to connect with. Whatever is going on behind _Pestilence Empire_ is unfortunately on the wrong side of an impenetrable gulf between band and listener. Many of the chord progressions lurch and stutter in and out of syncopation; up and down they go without consideration for creating anything resembling an absorbing melody. There is very little atmosphere other than the image of a bunch of metallers with tired instruments knocking out an uninteresting noise. By the time you've got through to the albums midpoint, Exmortem have already got quite boring and even the future single "Pestifer" is unremarkable. Fans of violent noise might get into this, but the lack of feeling behind _Pestilence Empire_ could dissuade a fan of even the most contrived gore metal. Sure, it's violent and aggressive, but the band are just going through the motions. Exmortem sound as if they can play, but they come across as bored and frustrated by their own creative failings. For all the complexity of the material and the effort put in, _Pestilence Empire_ is a really mundane album.

Contact: http://www.osmoseproductions.com

(article published 31/3/2003)

12/31/2004 J Smit 7 Exmortem - Nihilistic Contentment
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