Fogcrawler - _Welcome to Your Suffering_
(Independent, 2005)
by: T. DePalma (5 out of 10)
An album plagued less by musician's vanity than by its formulaic and draining theory, Fogcrawler's debut is a binge of technical death metal that frequently lapses into moshcore tedium a la Pantera-like churns with a light touch of sludgy groove.

Lush and perfectly suited to frame the wallop of each movement, the production accounts for the presence of rigorous death metal within as well as brief drifts into southern style metal with crisp fretwork. Each track here presents a barrage of blast beats and dexterous guitar work that wind into a backdrop of syncopated breakdowns, with the vocals alternating between grindcore hog-wheezes and half growls that lay somewhere between death metal and hardcore, inveighing working-class gripes combined with typical gore fantasy. The lyrics are not printed with the disc but are available at the band's website. Considering that you can barely make out a word without having them in front of you makes the "Parental Advisory" notice adorning the cover appear more silly (why a self-financed record even has one, I can't say). For the most part, the guidelines here seem to be that every song requires at least a minute of grind style slamming in between to glue everything together, which reverts the music to descending power chords ending on pinch harmonics that aren't as offensive as they are exposing of the band still in a phase of emulation; obviously proficient, but generally unremarkable, despite some peculiarities.

There are attempts to break from this, as the allusions to thrash and stoner rock throughout the album show (possibly carried over from Fogcrawler's first incarnation as Stone Misery?), particularly in "Immortal Suicide", "Brain Plagued", "Tension" and "Occupational Disillusionment" -- notable for providing atmosphere in the breaks and background passages of the solos, but the rest never achieve the memorable quality or synergy that this 42 minutes of music requires.


(article published 27/6/2005)

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