Hard work is everything, especially in the music industry. It could be argued that some bands are slower (in some cases, significantly) than others when it comes to releasing albums, but this band has managed to pop out a new album almost every single year since its birth back in 2006. Feed your slam craving with some Pathology.
Pathology, a three-member brutal death metal band, was born back in 2006 and has since released seven studio albums – including the latest release entitled Lords of Rephaim on September 3. The band has endured several vocalist changes throughout the years including original and current vocalist Matti Way, Pascaul Romero, Levi Fuselier and Jonathan Huber (formerly of I Declare War). After Jonathan's departure last year and the band's departure from Victory Records (only to sign with independent New York label Severed Records), things were definitely shaken up for the band and fans alike. A huge blow to the fans was when founding band member Dave Astor didn't want the band to tour any longer – ultimately resulting in Johnathan's departure.
The band has continued its streak of fast album releases and almost immediately Lords of Rephaim was thrust upon us. The 13-song album features original vocalist Matti Way reclaiming his position as frontman for the band while Dave Astor and Tim Tiszczenko respectively cover the drumming and guitar duties. One of the most notable differences between Lords of Rephaim and the previous release is not just the vocals themselves, but the obvious vocal range difference. Matti Way and the band went in a different direction than Johnathan did, especially in the structure of each song.
Lords of Rephaim just felt really slow at most parts and the vocals matched with it. The riffs were nothing exciting and were more bland than anything. The structure in The Great Time of Purification was on a much higher level then any of the 13 tracks on Lords of Rephaim. I felt like there was actual originality put into previous releases and maybe a little more time should have been spent on trying to really separate the old and original Pathology from the previous works that didn't feature Matti or Tim. Not to say that this release was a complete bummer, as it was nothing short of heavy and, even though plenty of the riffs were boring and unoriginal, all the instrumentals and vocals blended well together. There was never a moment where I felt like anything was out of place or that something didn't belong. Pathology has always been extremely strong at creating albums quickly and without any hesitation with brutality and sheer instrumental power. They have just lacked in originality, except with the case of The Great Time of Purification.
What separates the two albums and previous works is Matti's ability to sound much more punishing than Johnathan. Examples come from my personal favorites, "Empire" and "Code Injection," which both contain vocals that weren't heard in The Great Time of Purification likely due to John's inability to go that low with his vocal range. Another cool track would have to be the interlude titled "Dies Irae...," which was just a really cool two minutes with some gnarly vocal bits.
Overall, the album wasn't one that I would peg as Pathology's best, but it's not the worst. It lacked the sheer originality to blow previous works out of the water; however, it did harness the old Pathology sound and bring it back to a newer fan base that may have not jammed any of the previous works. It should also be noted that the quality of the band's sound has always been top notch and has never come off as muddy or garbled – a real treat for slam lovers that enjoy that good quality sound once in a while.