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Cartilage - The Fragile Concept of Affection (split with Altar)
Review: Aiming to pummel with recursive rhythm and internal interplay between syncopated blasts and slices of silence, the music of Cartilage works within the established parameters of Swedish death metal to give significance through melody and narrative to the narrow collections of power chords connected by rhythm. With established technique and aesthetic, this band focus attention in the unique textures and shapes of phrase here put to direct and violent percussion.
Guitars work in power chords with an emphasis less on faster strumming and integration of polyrhythm than on, in the style of Amorphis, an essential melodic tendency emerging through darkly colliding single-strum chords. As a forerunner to much of black and death metal to come, this band for technicality extend melodies to modulating patterns of self-recursive but intricate exploration. Musicality does not ascend to levels of great innovation, as there is nothing new in technique here, but the music escapes predictability and restrains itself to what is appropriate and integral to the songs.
Guitar riffs wander all over the spectrum, from simple chunky riffs to more complex, vaguely progressive heavy metal styles. Where at top performance said riffs are exceptional, with unique phrasing and melody (convergent from the edges of immediate harmonic relevance), and all fit into songs that are slightly discontiguous yet powerful and artistic. The art of brooding phrases under riffs and tempo changes both in rhythm section and guitar speed is not forgotten here, and to the great advantage of this music: a highly unique and expressive form of death metal.