“We are the Hoffman brothers / Don’t get along with others.”
That’s right, the Hoffman brothers of longtime Deicide fame are back in action, sans Steve Asheim and Glen Benton, and have laid claim to pre-Deicide moniker Amon. It appears they’ve hijacked the Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky tour bus to round out the lineup, as Mike Petrak handles drum duty while Jechael —also the vocalist for Diabolic at one point— mans the microphone. So, they have the name, they have a more-than-capable, Grindcore-tested lineup, and we all know they have the talent… what will they do with it all? If you answered, “create a serviceable yet ultimately forgettable Death Metal album,” give yourself 666 points. It’s true, about a minute into album opener “Among Us,” you know exactly what’s in store for the next 35 minutes. Brutality, speed, kamikaze guitar solos, and crazed low growls. The vibe is distinctly early ’90s Floridian —no real surprise there— but with beefed up intensity, aggression, and the technical maturity that a couple decades in the game tends to bring. It’s like the original Amon, only on those horse steroids Barry Bonds was using. Thankfully the band opted for an Old School production, as the lack of huge, over-polished modernization adds to the antiquated feel. These nine cuts hack, slash, and blast at a frantic pace. The pedal only comes unglued from the metal for the occasional hook or slower solo. It’s ironic, and perhaps a bit unfair, how much these songs remind me of bands primarily influenced by Deicide. If you blindfolded me and told me this was Centurian’s Of Purest Fire debut from 1997, I’d probably believe you. You also hear a bit of Diabolic (for obvious reasons) and even hints of Benton-fronted Vital Remains. Of course, these bands would either not exist or sound much different if not for the Hoffmans’ existence. For all its rampant fury and lyrical wrath, Liar in Wait is a solid listen beginning to end, but in no way whatsoever is it memorable. You’d have an easier time remembering random C-Span 3 dialogue you heard drunk at 4am a week ago. A worthwhile “debut,” but let’s hope for material that can match the strength of the sound next time.
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