If there is one subgenre of metal that is easy to mess up, it has to be technical death metal. Since evolving from the brilliance of bands like Death and Atheist, into the more complicated work done by Suffocation, the genre has felt the need to go even further. It feels as if a lot of these bands try to fit as many blast beats onto an album while also managing to spend 40-50 minutes sweep picking with no apparent direction. Why this has become popular, I’ll never really understand, but the good news is that there are still bands out there trying to make quality technical death metal.
Kamikabe definitely comes from the newer school of death metal, but they do everything right. For one thing, this record is short. When you remove the intro and interlude, you are left with 31 minutes of music, including a 7-minute atmospheric epic. The songwriting matches this accordingly: you aren’t going to find your mind wandering during this condensed slab of music. This is no more apparent than in the fantastic drumming of BJ Sarnese. This man is an absolute beast of a rhythm machine. His work is extremely creative and there is some of everything: blast beats, thrashier patterns, double bass (there’s no shortage of this!), and unique fills. Likewise, the guitars are another highlight of the record. They manage to be technical in a way common to both old and new tech death metal. There are an endless amount of riffs that sound as if they were written for a melodeath band and then played at twice the speed; however, there are also plenty of chugging parts that would not be out of place on a more brutal style played by bands such as Pathology. To accommodate the more conservative fans of death metal, this record also has plenty of speedy tremolo-picked riffs. Another brillant move by Kamikabe is the incorporation of guitar solos. They aren’t plentiful, but the fact that they exist on a record like this (see: “The Process Within”) shows that this band has a bit more attention to melody in their sound.
It might just be my personal bias, but I’ve always felt like this sound is one that is more of an “in the moment” listening experience. After several listens, there are very few parts memorable parts, but that doesn’t mean “Aberration of Man” isn’t a great record while it lasts. If you are a major fan of this style of music, this is absolutely going to be one of your favourite albums of the year. I would probably listen to a lot more technical death metal if it all sounded like this!
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All of it!
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott