Monstrosity In Dark Purity

In the wake of the disappointing releases from Obituary and Malevolent Creation, the early Florida death metal scene is ostensibly not that significant anymore. Monstrosity was amongst the pioneers, and their 1992 debut Imperial Doom was quite influential, before the band was dropped from the Nuclear Blast roster. The most notable event in Monstrosity’s career (ignoring the inferior Hateplow project) was the quick departure of vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher when Cannibal Corpse came a-knockin’ after the Chris Barnes ousting a few years back. In Dark Purity, only their third album in seven years, is an unexpected whirlwind of guttural death with plenty of Cynic-styled guitar chops, stellar production and the staggering realization that Fisher couldn’t have done the band a better favour than leaving permanently. “The Hunt,” a brief, Sinister-like instrumental, sets the mood for the non-stop brutality that follows with “Destroying Divinity.” The riffing of “The Angel’s Venom” and “Dust To Dust” are wonderfully reminiscent of The Bleeding-era Cannibal Corpse, but with melodic solos and bridges that display the exceptional musicianship of guitarist Tony Norman. The outro of “The Angel’s Venom” has a keen swirling effect that modulates between the left and right channels. Accommodating the most godly guitar solo on the record, “Suffering To The Conquered” tones down the aggression a bit, sounding more like European death bands. Lead throat Jason Avery’s brusque intonation is unerring and even goes through an effect in “Hymns Of Tragedy” that sounds like a slide whistle. An able cover of Slayer’s “Angel Of Death” caps one of the year’s best metal releases. (Olympic)