I’ve seen Embryonic Devourment play live several times since the early 2000s, so I’m quite familiar with this band. While I’m not a huge fan of Technical Brutal Death Metal, these guys know how to kick some serious ass on stage and I appreciate that. When it comes to Death Metal, any band that can give me neck damage gets my respect. One of the problems I always have with reviewing technical bands, regardless of the genre of Metal, is that the way a band sounds live and the way they sound on a studio recording is vastly different. Seen live, Embryonic Devourment is brutal as fuck, and though they’re technical, their guitar tone is pretty punishing. On Reptilian Agenda, however, the guitars are dramatically dialed back in brutality. The recording has a lot of clarity, but that came at the price of the band’s extremity. On the plus side, you get to hear every note and riff clearly. On the minus side, it doesn’t kick nearly as much ass as it should. When I first listened to this LP, I was disappointed because I remember how the band sounds live and I expected to hear a similarly bass-heavy guitar tone here, too. Even though the group is clearly very well rehearsed and their technical chops are solid throughout these eight tracks, the lighter-weight guitar tone really took a chunk out of Embryonic Devourment’s sound. If you’re listening this album for pure technicality, you’re going to find that in abundance, but one of the key parts of Technical Brutal Death Metal is the “Brutal” element. I wanted this record to beat the shit out of me, but it just never happened. I guess that’s just a good excuse to see these guys live because that’s where they really deliver the goods.
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