Cardiac Arrest - Haven for the Insane
Ibex Moon Records
Death Metal
12 songs (48:07)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Steve

There are a few definite if less-than-fatal flaws with Haven for the Insane. To start, it crosses the fine line between organic and amateurish in musical production. Is it an old-school sound? Not to my ear, and if it were, it may be better left in the past. Secondly, there’s fairly heavy use of pig squeal, or “bree,” vocals (whereby the vocalist emits sound on the inhalation in addition to or in place of the exhalation). This might not be such a detraction from the record overall if the other vocal work present weren’t so much better than the squeals. Another issue is an unusual drum sound that appears on occasion. What it sounds like is drum rolls where there should be blast beats. The vagaries of drumming technique notwithstanding, it doesn’t work. Finally, the band’s mediocre songwriting makes for a boring album.

One bright spot on Haven for the Insane are the guitar solos. It’s no easy feat to solo in death metal. It is the rare performance that sounds good both on its own and in the middle of an aural beatdown such as Cardiac Arrest are delivering, but it is pulled off very well on this disc. The solo on Extinction Endured is exemplary. In fact, the guitars shine more or less throughout, with Against Their Will yielding a couple of sweet riffs in just the one song. I also found the group refrain of “fuck you!” made Paralyzed With Fear a hot little number. Twitching at the Noose is a burner too. These are tracks that are representative of the grimy energy exhibited on this record, which lifts it above average at times, but never too far and never for too long.

When you head out on a tour with Ibex Moon labelmates Gravehill and HOD and call it the “Campaign for Death Metal Purity,” you’re saying something about the state of things. What exactly is impure in death metal these days? What is it that needs purging? Would you do away with Fleshgod Apocalypse? Gorod? Obscura? The Faceless? Ignominious Incarceration? Whitechapel? Darkest Hour? Bleeding Through? I’m not saying I love all these bands or the entirety of their discographies, but I have at least found something to like in all of them and I appreciate the energy and attention they bring to the contemporary metal scene. When I listen to Whitechapel, it sounds like someone keeps interrupting some pretty damn good death metal with breakdowns, but if that’s you’re thing, more power to you. Yes, Haven for the Insane shares many traits with the works of the masters of yore, but I refuse to stipulate that there’s anything “pure” about it. It is true I like my beer pure (i.e. made in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot), but I don’t think it’s a quality that interests me in metal. Besides, when Suffocation and Obituary are still releasing good albums and treasures like Nirvana 2002 and Convulse are being given new life, It’s hard to make the case that we need anyone to carry the purity torch in death metal. At least not yet.

Killing Songs :
Against Their Will, Unearthly Pleasures
Steve quoted 76 / 100
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