Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Pathology - Surgically Hacked

The new, highly anticipated Pathology album is right around the corner, set for release later this September, and what's a better way to welcome its arrival into the unending metal universe than revisiting the debut album that started it all for this brutal San Diego based band? Since their formation in 2006, Pathology have had a knack for stirring up chaos. Surgically Hacked even saw itself banned in Germany in 2010, four years after its initial release. What kind of carnage can be expected from this twenty minute debut?

Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Label: Amputated Vein Records
Release Date: September 30th, 2006
  1. Impious Brain Donor
  2. Demented Betrayal
  3. Septic Shock
  4. Unsuspecting Poltergeist Possession
  5. As the Globe Begins to Burn
  6. Surgically Dismembered
  7. Braining
  8. Postorbital Incision
  9. The Abysmal Den
  10. Second Dimensional Apparition
Total Playtime: 20 minutes, 10 seconds






Rating: 7.5/10







The new, highly anticipated Pathology album is right around the corner, set for release later this September, and what's a better way to welcome its arrival into the unending metal universe than revisiting the debut album that started it all for this brutal San Diego based band? Since their formation in 2006, Pathology have had a knack for stirring up chaos. Surgically Hacked even saw itself banned in Germany in 2010, four years after its initial release. What kind of carnage can be expected from this twenty minute debut?

At this point, having just formed, Pathology are still a three man band; Dave Asator on drums, Tim Tiszczenko on bass and vocals, and Nick Gervais on guitar. At times, Surgically Hacked can come off laden in grindcore influence given the short track lengths, lack of audible bass and the frantic pace of the album overall. This is offset by a heavy reliance on gutteral vocals and occasional chug riffs that slow the material down and allow it to breathe, such as in the songs "Demented Betrayal" and "Unsuspecting Poltergeist Possession" which are two of the best on Surgically Hacked that pull out all of the stops and show off what the band are capable of.


The guitars are mixed up to involve fast flurries of riffs, surgically precise tremolo picking and pinch harmonics that are laid out like traps in all of the right places. Injected throughout the content are sections which make use of slower, palm muted riffs and melodic tremolo picking that slice up the bouts of unrelenting fury produced throughout most of the album. "Second Dimensional Apparition" is a great take on the diversity of how sluggish the guitars can become versus a taste of how furious they can be. The vocals are decent for brutal death and there isn't much to comment on; a bowel-busting set of low gutterals with inhuman growls, rarely seeing any deviation in tone. The drums consistently use over-driven hyper blast beats and rarely, if ever, slow down with the guitars. This keeps the accelerated tempo of the album alive even through the lethargic parts. The bass is mostly inaudible, and when it is heard it's keeping a steady rhythm between the guitar and drums.

Surgically Hacked is an enjoyable, fun album worth quite a few listens. The lyrics are full of guts and gore, the guitars have squealies in all of the right places, even the blast beats are fun to chaotically air-drum along to. Impressive for a first attempt that still stands tall half a decade later. The production value is good and prevents the material from becoming fuzzy and cluttered. The drumming needs work, on the album itself it comes across sounding more like a drum machine rather than a live drummer and sometimes the drums get a little too loud in the mix. The vocals could also use some improvement, something zesty thrown in to offset the monotonous mid-tone gutterals. Otherwise, this album is an intense, short, brutal experience that shouldn't be passed up.

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