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Monstrosity - demo 1994
Review: Somehow a bouncy speed metal band, a blasting death metal band, and a fast and wily progressive minded abstract metal band at the same time, Monstrosity pull together a demo tape of three tracks that delivers the rhythmic brutality for which the Florida act is famous, laying underneath the violent codes of motion a patina of complexities that distinguish these compositions.
The speed metal faction reminds me of Demolition Hammer, Exodus, Exhorder or Deicide, the bands that can put bounce into their strum and work relatively happy drumbeats into oblivious violence; a comparison to Deicide's Legion would not be unfair if it is said as well that the Monstrosity material holds together more cohesively, and has the sense of being composed and then played rather than composed onto recorded material. All of the rhythms are here, from the pounding stops to choruses or the chanting blasts of verses, and are encoded finely in the very fast strumming that frequent Monstrosity use to integrate small visions of melody into the harmonic structure of their songs.
The flexibility of the band to break out of rhythms and patterns and to shift or leave entirely the tendencies of the music to produce a more expressive statement builds a tension of ambiguity under music that subtly coopts the established patternology of its genre in modifications, overlays, and inversions. In the right-hand rhythms of this guitarist there is some hint of the more intense rhythmic offsets and counterpoints of Morbid Angel, where in the drums comes an intense cyclic-rhythm technicality that avoids being detached from the overall motion of the song.
There is one guitarist on this recording, but the motion of pattern change is so intense the floods of scales and bent notes he strings out for solos are almost as unnecessary as their placement suggests. His work is not bad, but it is extended architectural soloing rather than soloing that is pattern-intense in its own right. Vocals provide another level of pattern layering in their intense rhythms and dark timbres as provided by now-Cannibal-Corpse-vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher.
The majestic power of Monstrosity is the ability of this music to be gut-level pleasing death metal at the same time it is compositional communication. These three songs give a limited picture of what an album might be like but a definitive picture of a band at one point in time.