Condemner – Male Patratis Sunt Atra Theatra Parata (2024)

Condemner offers us the most bare-bones death metal possible. We hear only a straightforward guitar. Simple, slow battle drums that press on the same emphasis points of the guitar riff. Traditional death metal vocals round off the bare minimum arrangement, with the occasional higher-register growl doubling for demonic effect at tactical points.

As can be imagined, this album is all guitar. The drums are there to amplify it, to add the sonority of percussion that the genre needs. Male Patratis Sunt Atra Theatra Parata is entirely about the guitar riff and as such, does a very good job. It maintains the promise of Condemner’s 2015 demo, “Omens of Perdition.” Like its predecessor, it offers the listener long stretches of melody-based tremolo-picked riffs with power chord statements for contrast. Perhaps the only novelty here are the sprinklings of rhythm-oriented riffs. These are riffs where the melodic interest is low, relying on the energy of rhythm to move things along.

All that said, a work should stand or fall on its own merits. Many listeners would welcome a more creative, more free, percussion section. A second guitar would also help fill out the spaces (not that we must fall prey to horror vacui, but experienced listeners may note that this is one of the missing ingredients).

On the idealist side, and siding with the musicians however, we have the following to say. The long-winded songs in a long-winded album are not only satisfying but addicting. The sense of pacing and the constant advent of content that almost falls into sameness but never quite does keep you on edge.

The drums, though strictly functional and following the guitar patterns, are adequate, and create space where they must as well as rush forth when they are expected to.

And even in a very orthodox album in which all is as expected, there is the excitement of a new battle, same weapons and same limbs, but new all the same.

Quite notably, the concepts and imagery that Condemner visit is direct and simple: torture and suffering. Art such as this does not flourish in the waters of complex abstraction. If anything, that would take away from clarity and strength. We want for death metal a vivisection of the human mind, the incarnation of a single passion, unabashed and unhindered, stepping on piles of corpses, ascending, uncaring, to its rightful throne.

Know that this is an album for the seasoned listener. It is like good whiskey in a nondescript container. It is best taken in with attention, though it does not disturb, and rather emphasizes, meaningful lonely activity, or the appropriate company. It cannot satisfy the youthful need for novelty, for kicks of fetishistic excitement. Even the extreme topic it touches on is addressed in a mythic, detached way. It is not the giving in to the passions, but the contemplation of human cruelty through the eyes of the statue carved into the columns of a bleak dungeon.

While we dream of a Blaspherian or debut-era Incantation approach to drums could take Condemner’s music to its full potential, Male Patratis Sunt Atra Theatra Parata is an album that sustains repeated listens. Session after session, the understated production tone avoids the grating on the ears that more modern approaches tend to have. Back to back replays make us relish in these pure-structure riffs, and, more importantly, in their orderly procession, a testament to the ability of man to produce a work of focus, channeling dark energies through the filter of reason.

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40 thoughts on “Condemner – Male Patratis Sunt Atra Theatra Parata (2024)”

  1. Patrick Pearse says:

    That art-work….oof

    1. Crabby says:

      lol reminded me of the Prince Of Persia MSDOS game

      1. Try playing the original. This was one of those elite zeraw from back in the day.

    2. I don't know much about art, but says:

      I think it’s a work of focus, channeling dark energies through the filter of reason.

      1. Or perhaps trying to get past reason, which is inherently rationalization.

      2. D.A.R.G. says:

        The point is that to get at organized pattern on purpose, that is reason at its most elemental.

        That’s literally all reason is good for.

        1. Hessian Murderer of Black Death says:

          Reason is useful for telling you how to get to where you want to go, but it can’t tell you where to go

        2. Necrotic Nuggets says:

          Reason means the dominion of Man over nature through his abstract gods. Only evil escapes this mindlock.

    3. Cog says:

      That’s my daydream treatment of some of my co-workers. God damn I hate my job. Capitalism was a great idea for mobilizing resources, but evidently allows idiots to hide their incompetence among the herd and turns bright people into zombies.

  2. Ben Glenton says:

    Good stuff, although the drums could have sounded a bit beefier. Very cool riffing.

  3. are you executioner says:

    Finally, a new death metal release that’s worth delving into. Appreciate the review.

  4. Jesus is King says:

    This shit is bussin. Enjoying it more than their last album. Listening to it feels like you’re riding a monstrous serpent through a maze-like dungeon in Hell. I think including a second guitar or letting the drums be more ‘adventurous’ would loose that feeling.

    1. Jesus Is Fag says:

      You have to become the serpent. You need to embrace the ride to Hell.

  5. Buttsniffer says:

    So anyway

    1. Buttsniffer says:

      Why do you remove links, man? :(

  6. Aight says:

    Even the proto-death bands from the 80’s had better production quality and musicianship, and they didn’t even have the equipment of today. I get the whole wanting to sound primitive schtick, but at this point in time it’s a contrived war metal gimmick.

    Previous album was ok though, at least they didn’t try to reinvent the wheel there.

    1. happy hardcore meets despair says:

      i listened to a couple of songs. not half bad. but will i ever listen to it again, when i can throw on something killer, like some old deicide or morbid angel? nope.

      im interested music that’s coming out now, that is totally vital now, and will be regarded as pivotal in the future for it. it may draw some inspiration from metal, but it is not metal: guys playing the same old riffs and taking pictures in the graveyard or whatever with their hair covering their face, fists clenched, standing there like there’s a stick up their ass. going to a metal show reveals all the bloodless conformity to polite society that you’d expect anywhere else. the whole contemporary metal thing has become totally boring to me.

      1. OK, I’m good with upholding the ancients.

        I think we need to look for people who are currently doing good stuff too.

        Do we give them some leeway? The exact same as we did for the ancients.

        The problem is that very few make it past the first demo stage, BECAUSE the audience is not there, BECAUSE they are listening to deathcore and metalcore instead.

        1. south of my buttcrack says:

          Ok but can we also look for people doing good stuff outside of Texas?

          1. are you executioner says:

            Last 2 from him were Australia and Japan. Think those are outside of Texas.

          2. Berycal says:

            Did you not notice the Mekigah article just below?

        2. dickernes says:

          Its just that it’s been done before, but with more exuberance and curiosity. But you have a point, so I’ll give it an honest listen and see what percolates the rational mind.

  7. clément says:

    Okay, just to inject another quantum of solace and humor at this point:
    Well, we all know that chat-up lines don’t work apart from in the masturbation-triggered minds of juveniles… but if they worked: What would be some true-to-the-heart solipsistic death metaler’s chat-up line, eh, something like:

    ‘Hi, “Ridden with disease”‘ (AUTOPSY, get it?) …or:

    “Let’s beget bastard sons, you cunting daughter, become
    a promiscuous mother and me an incestuous fathers”

  8. True Death Metal Sodomy Enjoyer says:

    Dark atmosphere…serpentine riffs…atmosphere of amoral occultism…Galtonian intolerance…yes this is most welcome!

  9. Warkvlt is High IQ Music says:

    It’s actually not bad at all, sounds like early Divine Necromancy in more complex. In a good way.

    Production is an issue but it’s not so much the drums as the shitty GarageBand/EzMix guitar tone that kills everything. Didn’t they have just a simple Behringer or Digitech DM pedal hanging around? The former costs something like 50 USD and sound better than this. Or worse comes to worse, just the natural amp gain? Literally anything other than this it sounds like some digital crap mixed with a pirated russian VST. Gay.

    Also, the vocals… not the worst but completely bland. Sounds like 99% of other DM bands which is a SHAME because for once the music has more effort and more vision than 99% of other DM bands, but the vocals just make the whole thing sound generic. One thing rarely mentioned about early 90s bands – besides being objectively superior to modern stuff – is that they had unique vocalists. If this trend continue I see death growls going the same way as pig squeals. I vote for a temporary removal of DM vocals on all new releases until we figure out a solution – bands can still have lyrics, just printed on the album booklet or something.

    Other than that it’s pretty good.

    1. One thing rarely mentioned about early 90s bands – besides being objectively superior to modern stuff – is that they had unique vocalists. If this trend continue I see death growls going the same way as pig squeals. I vote for a temporary removal of DM vocals on all new releases until we figure out a solution – bands can still have lyrics, just printed on the album booklet or something.

      Not the worst idea I have heard. The 90s bands viewed the vocals as an instrument; now they are part of the genrification. The problem of being in a late genre is that everyone is to some degree emulating the past without reaching the reasons why bands did what they did. I do not mind the vocals on this release at all because they are at least understated. Too much emphasis on the vocal kills the prominence of guitars and thus, of narrative composition.

    2. PB says:

      “Or worse comes to worse, just the natural amp gain? ”
      That’s what was used; it’s the sound straight out of my Bogner Twin Jet, miced with an SM57.

      1. Flying Kites says:

        Vocals, drums, and guitars is all they have a voice to breathe about. It’s good music. :)

    3. Vagitarrius says:

      Just doing it cuz it’s “metal” and not because you are severely introverted – not necessarily antisocial – makes for some boring vocals.

      So many otherwise good releases are ruined by uninspired vocals. But metal without vocals altogether lacks animality and does nothing for me.

  10. Bark says:

    Will contemplate this, welcome back on here DARG, you´ve been missed, there is a wilderness of releases out there, needs some curating. Hope you´ll write more on here, usually on nothing less than interesting.

  11. gay says:

    Welcome back d.a.r.g. By the way, are you olddisgruntledbastard? I have enjoyed the recent articles there.

  12. Brittany Bristow's Colostomy Bag says:

    The old underground still lives, and is regrouping now that Millennial Metal has jumped the shark

  13. Angelcorpse fan says:

    This band, as does much of the black/death camp, need to take notes from Angelcorpse, and even the first and third Perdition Temple album to see that the Gene Palubicki way is the only way. That guy shit outs brilliant riff after riff like its nothing in just about any project he touches, natural talent for sure.

    1. Deformed Penis says:

      Perdition Temple had to pay to tour with Cannibal Corpse, the footage of the tour shows the crowd talking and playing on their phones as they opened for some metalcore band. Metal is most misunderstood by and dead to it’s own target audience.

  14. DOOM says:

    DARG LIVES!

  15. This is a good album that people listen to. Not every album is like this. Most things on this album could be better but overall the album is worth three horns.

  16. Flying Kites says:

    As a D.A.R.G. fanboy, it’s nice to see you poast to the DMU again. It took me six years since seeing those articles debuting the book to read it. I did so in the previous month and my email notified me of Condemner’s album three weeks ago. I like your reviews but have yet to listen to any of the music. I like Condemner for contemplation along with stimulating tea and nicotine.

    Bless Us. :)

  17. calm the next says:

    Brett,

    Do you have much interest in neoclassical? What do you consider worth one’s time?

    Sincerely,

    Defensive Personality

    1. Flying Kites says:

      https://www.anus.com/metal/kraftwerk/ It is too difficult to find those neoclassical reviews, although there are many and please continue to “search.”

      1. Future Shock says:

        I’m not looking for reviews, I’m looking for a few standout composers or compositions to come out of the movement following Romanticism.

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