Dim Mak Knives of Ice

Jonathan Longstreth is in this band. If you are a fan of his previous work, most notably Origin, Angelcorpse and Skinless, than this release is an absolute must-purchase. While far more rooted in traditional death metal than many of his more notorious collaborations, no doubt due to other members’ pedigree in Ripping Corpse, Longstreth has nonetheless worked within his means and managed to raise the bar for sheer speed and whirlwind creativity in metal percussion for the umpteenth time. Dim Mak’s sound could be likened to a thrashier Immolation, only about three times faster and catchier. While Longstreth blasts away through pretty much everything, although admittedly with slightly more breathing room than usual, moments of unexpected clarity in the form of infectious, hook-oriented choruses punctuate the songs brilliantly, guiding Dim Mak toward the near unachievable goal of creating a 30-minute-plus death metal album that doesn’t grate or bore for a second. The vocal approach takes a little getting used to, as it deviates from the usual Cookie Monster "spewage” and opts for a more enunciated, old school delivery. The mix, while somewhat thinner than it needs to be, allows each instrument to remain audible without veering too close to the heavily Pro-Tooled, unnecessarily polished standard. Willowtip strikes again — the last few months for this fierce independent label have honestly seemed like some wonderful, wonderful dream. (Willowtip)