article by Svennerick
Hailing from Switzerland, Near Death Condition play a fairly unique brand of brutal/technical death metal. Reason for that is the Morbid Angel influenced guitar playing of Patrick Bonvin, who is also the mastermind behind Construct Of Lethe, although Near Death Condition is more on the pure death metal side of things instead of playing a lot of maze-like dissonant riffs with an occasionally upcoming Formulas/Gateways era type of solo.
Some readers might be confused with me talking about unique brutal death metal that was released on Unique Leader records, but Near Death Condition goes beyond copying the band that founded Unique Leader or playing a plastic cutter sounding version of Suffocation.
But don’t let a label or a superficial genre tag fool you. There are some tasty riffs beneath the wall of blast beats and double bass attacks and then you will probably hear the sickest Trey Azagthoth worship out here in those beautiful solos, which is a rare exception for the style.
At first I will discuss the vocals portrayed here. Both of the guitarists, Patrick and Stéphane share vocal duties on here, like Luc. According to live videos of the band playing and through some closer listening it seems like that Stéphane uses a deep low guttural growl similar to Steve Tucker, while projecting it more which makes them sound a slightly bit deeper than the Warfather.
In contrast to Stéphane, Patrick is using a drier and raspy sounding mid range growl accented with some screams which often contribute single lines alone or sing along to what Stéphane is doing while providing a second voice to give the vocals are more expressive and refreshing touch since they tend to be not totally dynamic.
Now it’s time for what makes Near Death Condition shine – the guitars.
The riffs evoke a similar feeling to the riffs showcased on Formulas Fatal To The Flesh – a chromatic theme which repeats itself and eventually leads into a solo or a striking chord before returning to its root note. The slow riffs originate from Morbid Angel‘s mid period work. Most of those riffs occur with a blast beat backing them up, although the drums stop suddenly to enhance the effect of the transition (2:15 in “Torturing The Pretentious“) at some parts. At some points you find some glimpse of melody in those chromatic and fast running riffs, like some pull ons, which heavily remind me of Iniquity’s “Serenadium“ or runs across the fretboard, which might be inspired by the song “Prayer Of Hatred“.
Now coming to the solos, where you want to say a lot about them but it’s hard to describe them. They fall within the realm of Trey Azagthoth worship. Those leads create this ethereal, almost peaceful,relieving sound which allows for some room to breathe during those hectic and hyperactive songs, which is just as important in Death Metal as the faster sections. Bonvin executes them masterfully and shows that he spent a lot of his life learning to emulate Trey while still creating his own style.
Now we are discussing the bass and drumming showcased here, which might be the weakest aspects of this album. In typical modern brutal death metal fashion, there is no bass to be found and the drums are probably programmed (no drummer listed, although they had one playing rehearsals and live) and always very present in the mix. In this case it is just an artistic intention, combining a modern death metal type of sound with things that made the actual songs (no interludes and all that stuff) on Formulas Fatal To The Flesh so great.
In conclusion I can see a lot of appeal in Near Death Condition’s music, although I think a lot of people who enjoy old death metal releases might be put off by the constant blasting and the production, which seems reasonable. I personally found something which combines the two “schools“ of death metal I love equally into a neat package. Its necessary to also mention that the artwork looks extremely good, although it EMBODIES your cliché brutal death „corpses everywhere laying around“ artwork, I find that is has a perfect palette of colours, giving it a celestial but natural sensation.