For those of you who don’t frequent death metal, think Cookie Monster ate a frog, only on a whole new level. That’s a basic summary of Pathology’s new record, Awaken to the Suffering.
The forefront problem with this record is the guitar, bass and drums are fantastic. The vocals, however, are horrendous. I have no idea what vocalist Jonathan Huber is saying 99.9 percent of the time.
Don’t give me that “well you just don’t understand death metal” crap. It’s distorted guitar, growling vocals, and blast beat drumming in a nice complex order. I love Morbid Angel, Death, and Suffocation just like the rest.
But for example, in “A Perverse Existence” there’s a cute vomiting sound that’s not an accident because it was somehow left in past the editing and mixing phase of this record. It’s to the point where literally in “Society’s Desolation,” Huber sounds akin to a garbage disposal.
The time signature complexity change in “Humanity’s Cesspool” is overwhelming in a non-irritating fashion. With the drums of Dave Astor as a highlight, Huber’s screaming in the end makes you feel like you might know what Pathology could sound like. It’s fucking depressing to realize they aren’t.
That being said, this isn’t for the weak. If you are curious about extreme genres, Awaken to the Suffering is not the one that will change your mind (except it may awaken suffering in you).
“Media Consumption” is somehow a single with an accompanying music video that Victory turned into a comic book nightmare? Yes, that question mark belongs there. After actual inspection of (the alleged) lyrics, it reads more classic college liberal and less insightful. “We are bought and sold to the highest bidder/ Functioning by our own wants and needs/ Media outlets owned and controlled by big business/ Feeding off our own self indulgence.” Watch that “South Park” episode on burning down the Wal-Mart, and you get my point.
The roots of death metal masters are quite well upheld by the duo of Tim Tiszczenko and Kevin Schwartz on guitar. To the thrash on “Hostility Towards Conformity” and sinister vibe of an instrumental like “Prolonging the Suffering,” you wish it was just left there. Alone. Without vocals. Oscar Ramirez’s bass on “Emises” catapults the song into what will be a masterpiece if ever performed live by the San Diego five-piece.
So how do you rate something that is fundamentally missing? As previously mentioned, the musicianship is really good. It’s A+ as a matter of fact. It’s just impossible to ignore how terrible the vocals are. I wish it was an instrumental record. Or, we could go find the masters and make this happen.