Every step of the way that lead to the debut full-length from Santiago, Chile brutal death metal band Pulverized appears hard fought. A four year gap follows each major event in the life of their brutality as the band was conceived in 2006, then four years passed until the line-up filled out to five musicians on their 2010 demo, and another four years would fly by before their second demo ‘Decadencia Espiritual’ (2014) would release. Four years later we’re struck by the full force of Pulverized with their debut full-length ‘Monuments of Misanthropy’, an album that offers satisfying old school brutal death metal without a second of thought given to the new ways of death metal. Their focus is on 90’s death metal innovators as much as it eyes key post-millennium releases from the South American death metal scenes. There is neither gimmickry nor great extraneous hype to be drawn from and found within the very standard, very heavy 40 minutes of ‘Monuments of Misanthropy’.
If you were witness to the rise and fall of the many death metal trends of the first decade of this millennium you’ll no doubt recognize the various forces driving the hands of Pulverized. The slamming thrash-bled roll of Abhorrence in the wake of Krisiun‘s explosive beginnings, the intricately brutal thrust of Monstrosity influenced riffs, and the afterglow of post-‘Formulas Fatal to the Flesh’ Morbid Angel death metal. This sort of forceful old school influenced blast-happy approach is a few degree separated from a band like Heaving Earth but perhaps resembles more closely an album like Kronos‘ ‘The Hellenic Terror’; Technicality is often subtle and the brutality reigns above all song structure. What separates Pulverized‘s approach on ‘Monuments of Misanthropy’ from say, the average album from their country mates Homicide? Very little in terms of sound but Pulverized are much more focused on slower grooves and heavy hits when it counts.
With a closer eye taken to ‘Decadencia Espiritual’ it becomes clear that they had to make leaps and bounds in terms of playing in time and expanding their compositions for ‘Monuments of Misanthropy’ to be possible. They’ve risen to task for the most part but it isn’t much more than a serviceable death metal experience. “Cadáveres” is where I’m initially tripped up as the slow-burning Tucker era riffs and mid-paced growl of its eight and a half minutes drags hard. While the riff repetition that persists from this point on works quite well in a live setting the lack of varietal rhythms feels flat and hardcorish as a seated listening experience. “Aniquilación Genetica” follows suit and would have potentially killed the momentum of the record if the halfway point of the song didn’t jump into Suffocation style riffing. The guitar work absolutely shines most during moments of brutality and less so when it is time to slow down and create interest outside of chugging riffs. I’ll eat some of those words when the “Profecía-Flagelo-Extinción” highlights and then closes the album, but there is a bit of damage done within the middle portion of the album.
It is no tragedy to have a few predictable or droning riffs on a old school influenced death metal album although I do see greater potential for the band outside of their mosh-metal guitar work. The combination of Morbid Angel and Suffocation influences put on a good show no matter what although I have many records that sound approximately like this that tend to only get moderate spin time. This album deserves a moderate recommendation that is a few notches higher for fans of early 2000’s brutal death metal and the sort of bands of that era that paid tribute to the most popular 90’s bands a la Diabolic. For preview I would highly recommend “Consumed by Ignorance” to feel the full energy of Pulverized, “In the Depths of Insanity” to see the band at their most thoughtful, and “Cadáveres” to see if my gripes with the riffs in the second half resonate with you or not.
The great salvation will never come. 3.25/5.0
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