Cytotoxin - Gammageddon
Unique Leader Records
Tech Death
10 songs (39' 42")
Release year: 2017
Unique Leader Records
Reviewed by Andy

If you see some of the other technical death metal reviews I've done in the time I've been here, you'll see me mention on a few of them how they manage to stand out from the "average" tech death band. So what are all those other average ones? Well, Cytotoxin is one. In fact, if you've ever wondered what would be the standard for being a generic tech death album, Gammageddon is a good candidate. But does that make it a bad album? Not really.

On the contrary, it's quite a bit of fun. With a lyrical focus on nuclear accidents, nuclear fallout, nuclear apocalypse, nuclear... -- well, you get the picture -- this is an album that checks all the boxes. There are tons of sweep picking leads, brutal chugging riffs, and kicks miked to sound like the thin ends of chopsticks rattling against a formica countertop. The riffs that take more from thrash, like those found on Chaos Cascade or parts of Chernopolis, are better than the pure technical exercises in speed that are also found on the album, but even the latter will leave a listener duly impressed, if not breathless. Frontman Grimo spends most of his time in growl territory; a good thing, as the majority of his singing used to consist of pig squeals. He's cut that sort of thing way down, though you can still occasionally hear the "ree ree, ree ree ree" that many early listeners used to castigate.

All the stock tech-death elements come packaged with nuclear-related effects: Clicking Geiger counters, honking blast-door warning horns, and robotic alerts telling the user about contaminations and field breaches, in keeping with the band's desired atmosphere of "Chernobyl death metal". Beyond that, there isn't a whole lot to differentiate it. Though the guitar work on there clearly takes talent, the riffing doesn't differentiate itself from song to song; it's difficult to see and appreciate a difference between, say, Outearthed and Radiatus Generis. The final track, Sector Zero, does have greater atmosphere in it, with the guitars putting a more measured, doom-filled tread in their sound than just going up and down arpeggio scales.

So maybe it's not the most original stuff in the world. Sometimes, however, mindlessly generic tech-death is worthwhile just for the experience of hearing guitarists attempting to sweep-pick fast enough to catch the strings on fire, combined with a singer doing his level best to sound like a pig being chased by bacon-loving farmers. It's not much good as a steady diet, but I enjoyed the few spins I gave it anyway.


Killing Songs :
Chaos Cascade, Sector Zero
Andy quoted 76 / 100
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