Critical Extravasation – Morbid Existence (2019) REVIEW

Formed in 2017 under the name Openmindead this Moscow, Russia based technical death/thrash metal project should feature some familiar faces for folks who’re keen to either tech-thrashers Excruciation by Silence or underrated progressive death metal project Skyglow. Critical Extravasation immediately pays tribute to Volgodonsk tech-thrash heroes Аспид (aka Aspid) with their name but, their debut EP ‘Morbid Existence’ is not so hermetic by design. A clever thread of early Death, Pestilence, and the slightly more astute Morgoth (whom they cover on this EP) take Critical Extravasation‘s progressive and technical thrash leanings into the realm of tasteful classic late 80’s death metal. Hints of Sadus, Coroner and Atheist flood the halls with ‘death to poser’ blood but the star of the show isn’t necessarily the ‘old school’ references but what guitarist Сергей Степаненко (Sergey Stepanenko) is capable of doing with those ancient enlightened sounds. His guitar work and arrangements are perhaps just as complex as they were on ‘Thousand Years of Terror’ but made doubly more exciting for the sort of signature pacing he employs when arranging songs appropriate for differently style projects.

Although I am not the biggest Morgoth fan overall, “Body Count” was a smart dilation of the sort of songwriting Evil Chuck was doing circa 1988 with some of the dramatic flair that Pestilence would briefly flex on ‘Consuming Impulse’. It is a fine choice for a cover which Critical Extravasation more or less curate with as they’ve done little to change the actual form of the original song. “Primal Rage/Sick Minds” toys with some of that dramatic flair I’d alluded to for as the mid-point of the song approaches a hugely moshable that should feel like Tampa, Florida circa 1989 and thankfully bassist Victor Khaychenko is not a slouch as the second half of the song has this incredible classic thrash moment with I believe the live vocalist from Excruciation of Silence providing a ‘clean’ vocal moment. “Dismembered” fires off right away and into an stunningly finessed introduction that has the slightest hint of early Arghoslent in its second movement that builds towards a song that I felt fits into Sadus‘ ‘Souls of Black’ era but obviously cranked up to ‘Human’-era Death standards as it progresses.

I found myself feeling some considerable excitement for this project if they more or less refine this style of progressive and technical death/thrash sound because they’re just damn good at it. Bands like Hatred and Seprevation have come close to this level of riff craft but through less refined capture and I’d say Critical Extravasation more or less nail the sound intended. This is an easy recommendation though obviously one driven by one part admiration for young talent and perhaps a bigger part nostalgia, which is no skin off my back as I straight up love the style of death metal represented within. Highly recommended. For preview I’d say it’s short enough you could just spin the whole thing in a quick sitting but definitely start with “Primal Rage/Sick Minds” for the couple of standout moments it provides.

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Artist Critical Extravasation
Type EP [Digital/Cassette]
Released April 5, 2019
BUY & LISTEN on Redefining Darkness Records’ Bandcamp! Critical Extravasation on VKontakte
Genre Death Metal,
Technical Thrash Metal

War as the pathogen. 3.75/5.0

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