When it comes to brutal death metal, Pathology has to be near the top of the subgenre in terms of quality. As far as modern bands go, there are few better. The good news for fans of the band, is that “Lords of Rephaim” is largely unchanged from their previous few releases. Matti Way is back on vocals after sitting out for the last couple of Pathology albums, but otherwise, this album continues with the sound the band has built over their career. If you’re unfamiliar with Pathology’s brand of crushing brutal death metal, “Lords of Rephaim” is a fitting place to start.
Though this album delivers 13 tracks, they’re all pretty similar. Armed with heavily down-tuned guitars, and using as much muting as possible, “Lords of Rephaim” is completely devoid of melody, and instead relies on chugging riffs, pounding drums, and, of course, excessively guttural vocals. Matti Way is very much in the Chris Barnes and Frank Mullen style of singing where the vocals are about as low as possible without sounding comical or unserious. They perfectly compliment the music, whether it is blasting away speedily, or grooving along at a mid-paced tempo. Perhaps where this album might differ a little bit from prior Pathology releases is in the drumming. Though Dave Astor is still at the helm, it doesn’t feel like this album tries to utilize as intense drumming. As mentioned earlier, there are still blast beats, and obviously double bass is well used, but it is by no means constantly abused on “Lords of Rephaim”. With respect to songwriting, there is one surprising highlight. The shortest track, "Dies Irae...", plays along with the alien theme present on the band's album covers, and this track actually rocks pretty well. It's driven by a single groove, but it is really easy to get your head banging when listening to this song.
Overall this album is a pretty predictable release. That is certainly a good thing for this style of music, but it also means that it’s difficult to really do something memorable or unique. Pathology generally stays in line with the typical brutal death metal album, and deliver a record that won’t offend. If you’re a fan of this style of music, definitely seek out “Lords of Rephaim”. If not, I would still recommend Pathology as a starting point after Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation.
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All of it
3.9/5 or 78%.
Written by Scott