Calm Hatchery - Sacrilege of Humanity
Selfmadegod Records
Death Metal
12 songs (40 minutes)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Jake

“Melodic death metal” shouldn't be a thing. That term refers to a certain breed of melodic extreme metal that should have been given some name that differentiated it as its own subgenre, rather than suggesting that it's a style of death metal. While it has stylistic elements in common with death metal, its definition is more complex and specific than “death metal that has melodies,” and perhaps more importantly, there's the occasional act that could literally be called melodic death metal, but is emphatically not “melodic death metal.”

Witness Calm Hatchery, a very tight Polish band whose sophomore album Sacrilege of Humanity is a satisfying helping of Death-Metal-That-Is-Melodic. It's not melodeath—its chaotic structures eschew verse-chorus alternations, and its riffs are technical and brutal, not groovy or beat-driven—but its distinguishing feature is the band's superb ability to infuse their work with melody without sacrificing brutality. The intro to Hymn of the Forgotten lets its chords and leads ring out proudly rather than suffocating them with speed, yet the sheer energy of the delivery and the pummeling accompaniment of drummer Radoslaw Szczepañski make the end result absolutely crushing. Anyone who doesn't think the solo on Messerschmitt rips like mad is crazy, but like all of the truly excellent (and never wanky) lead work of guitarist “Panzerhauser,” it's so tonal and clear that you'd hardly know he's got a whammy bar anywhere on that thing. If there's one statement made by the entirety of Sacrilege of Humanity, it's that those who think melody and brutality are the opposing extremes of some spectrum have it all figured wrong.

The meat and potatoes of the music of Sacrilege of Humanity is a tonal take on the conventions of modern riffage (lots of chuggy single-note playing using power chords as a form of emphasis rather than as the default; constant up-and down scalar motion rather than thrashing) played in shifting and lopsided rhythms over drumming that mixes syncopated snare hits, low-key blasts and groove beats in a way that recalls Pete Sandoval's work on Blessed Are The Sick. The icing on top (to disgustingly mix my food metaphors) comes in the form of uncommonly energetic deep-register growling from a vocalist calling himself Szczepan (how the fuck is that “zcz” blend pronounced?) and the thoughtfully composed, savagely played solos of Panzerhauser, which are never short, but don't dominate songs or demand undue attention like the work of many a post-Malmsteen egomaniac shredder. It's all very technical, but there's nothing here that anyone's likely to call excess; only one song exceeds five minutes, and most stay between two and four. There are no show-offy arrangements—concise and artful songwriting is prized here.

This obviously isn't a monumental work, but it's deceptively original—points for taking an original approach that doesn't feel the need to shove its different-ness in your face, even if it does mean that the album sounds derivative on the first listen. Even if it's a bit for-genre-fans-only, it's highly recommended to death metal enthusiasts.

Killing Songs :
Sea of Truth, We Are the Universe, The Blood of Stalingrad
Jake quoted 86 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:51 pm
View and Post comments