Whether or not you agree with my statement that this now laughably predictable US death metal act should have hung up their guitars at least 15 years ago, if not earlier, the fact remains that their first two albums are absolute classics that anyone who claims to be into death metal is arguably not into death metal if they don't own copies. I personally prefer "Legion" but this album is such a cornerstone of the early 90s death metal movement that it can't be ignored.There is a raw, savage energy that emanates from this recording which is irresistible and taken in context can be considered somewhat groundbreaking for its time despite the fact it sounds a bit dated nowadays, but then again who even cares, old school DM albums always have way better production than most of the sterile nonsense that comes out now. Compared to a lot of other metal albums released in 1990 this is surely one of the most brutal.
You know what I think? Glen Benton is an underrated comedy genius. That is, assuming the idea to use pitch and harmonizing effects on his vocals creating the death metal equivalent of watching Evil Dead 2, was his. They are arguably quite tacky but, just like that film, humorous and add a nice silly horror film feel to the music whenever used, which you might hate or like me find it adds to the whole thing. His unprocessed vocals are a venomous bark and scream quite different from the monotonous drawl of later Deicide albums, and of course the infamous double tracked growl/scream is present. Bass? Practically non existent, no matter because Eric and Brian Hoffman have GOT. RIFFS. Lots of very good riffs. Thrashy in the old skool death metal style, and sinister. Steve Asheim is one of the genres most renowned drummers giving a driving and punishing performance which lends a great deal to the album's energy. Glen Benton's lyrics run the usual gamut of SATAN ad nauseum, highlighted with a little Manson and Jim Jones for good measure. When the music is as good as this, the nonsense satanic lyrics matter little and in fact I find some of them pretty well written (the Manson song is, anyway). It is amusing to think that in its day music like this was taken as a genuine threat to society by idiots and evangelicals everywhere, and given a lot of hype and attention by the media.
The production is quite heavy, although somewhat "inferior" sounding to the previous "Sacrificial" demo which featured most of this album's tracks recorded a little more clearly and without the vocal effects, however the added rawness helps I think and the guitar tone is just great. The overall effect is clearly meant to be that of a sledghehammer to the face and it succeeds at that.