One of the first Death Metal bands to ever grace the earth and help kick start the extreme music movement, Monstrosity, are back with an absolutely ferocious and refreshing new record, and to sum it up in 3 words or less; IT IS INCREDIBLE. With 11 years between The Passage of Existence and their previous record Spiritual Apocalypse, the Death Metal quintet have had more than enough time to focus on their songwriting, get themselves polished and collect themselves personally, and the wait for this record has definitely paid off.
Formed by drummer Lee Harrison, a then unknown vocalist named George Fisher and bassist Mark Van Erp in 1990, the Florida based death metal quintet have practically had a revolving door of members, touring and official alike, with almost 30 different musicians taking part in the band’s history in one way or another. To most bands, old and new alike, losing and gaining new members constantly over the course of a few years is enough to drive yourself mad and call it quits, but thankfully Monstrosity persevered through all the hardships, and have come out with one of their tastiest Death Metal albums so far, The Passage of Existence.
Launching the 12 track album with “Cosmic Pandemia”, the Floridian quintet almost instantly kick it off in proper old school fashion, with a skull crushing riff and pounding double kick beat that satisfies the Death Metal regime and takes you back into the days of Death, Decapitated and Possessed. Drummer Harrison has obviously dedicated his life to his art, and it’s noticeable straight away with the energy that is extrapolated from his playing and the incredible chemistry that is projected with guitarists Mark English and Matt Barnes just in the first track alone.
After beginning The Passage of Existence in the best way possible, the band continue to keep the energy and atmosphere maintained with the follow up track, “Kingdom of Fire”. This is definitely the track that best showcases English and Barnes’ technical songwriting proficiency, with riffs that reminisce David Davidson from Revocation’s playing, it has the perfect mixture of technicality and melody, with a dark and eerie clean section being provided. The most mind blowing moment about the track is how the rest of the members managed to come back after that clean section with arguably the heaviest section on the album; it comes in unexpectedly, packing a tough punch with the chemistry between bassist Mike Poggione and Harrison, while guitarists English and Barnes pack the heat with an insanely violent, mind blowing and ridiculously clean tremolo section.
“Eternal Void” is definitely the track that stood out to me the most and caught my attention right off the bat. The 10th track from Monstrosity’s 6th studio album, it instantly takes you back to the bands first two offerings with Corpsegrinder, back into the early and mid 1990’s, with a little bit of a more technical and cleaner twist. Vocalist Mike Hrubovcak provides his most malevolent performance of the record and matches the intensity of members Poggione, Harrison, English and Barnes with fantastic lyrical content and thought out vocal placement, keeping it catchy, yet extremely brutal.
Being an old school Death Metal band, I had high hopes that Monstrosity would allow their bassist Poggione to stand out and provide an extra layer of depth and atmosphere to the album, especially since the band has an extensive record of insanely talented bass players. As this is Poggione’s third album with the original Death Metal outfit, I did expect for him to add a smooth and interesting layer to the album, but with as with almost every band, I couldn’t help but be worried and anxious, and he followed through with a noticeable and original playing style that held its own, while backing up English and Barnes respectively.
Classic Death Metal Kings Monstrosity have come back stronger than ever with their first studio in 11 years; an album that will leave listeners melted with an overdose of malevolent, vicious and depraved metal. Do yourself and go purchase the album on iTunes, online from the band or anything of the like; this is one of the most exciting albums to come out so far this year!