Friday, December 14, 2012
Depopulate - Till Man Exists No More E.P. (2012)
Another young pup in the rapidly expanding back yard of Polish death metal, Depopulate actually feel fundamentally American here on their debut EP, having more in common with Suffocation than Behemoth, when all is said and done. While they are as fierce and frenetic as one would expect from an aspiring Polish monstrosity, it reeks more of meat-headed slam than innate evil or otherwise dynamic sensations. Not that there’s anything wrong with such a technique, as groups like Dying Fetus continue to both thrive and impress, but despite some obvious instrumental skill and a palpable will to dominate, Depopulate feel pretty stale practically right out the gate. Yes, it’s brutal, but in very banal, predictable ways, with little in the way of variation or interesting ornamentation, just picking some chords and hammering them out with little consideration for flow, as even the better riffing selections (and there are some) get kneecapped by the mundanity of the consistent, contrived breakdowns.
Indeed, this 15 minute celeritous beat-down thrives mainly on palm-muted chugs and breakdowns, appropriately cornering the jock mosh market with a hailstorm of anger. Problem is, outside of the few strong riffs sprinkled conservatively throughout, Till No Man Exists is almost entirely unexciting and unmemorable. The vocals are a typical, unvarying percussive bark, which isn’t really much of an issue considering the genre is brutal death, but the muted slabs of notation fail to elicit much feeling outside of a bored sense of monotony. The breakdowns are even worse, with no aspiration beyond inspiring fits of Neanderthal headbanging, and serve to break the flow of what could have otherwise been a decent spasm of brutality. The few riffs worthy of mention make fitting use of some higher frets and tremolo picking, which when combined with the taut and belligerent drum performance display a modicum of raw talent here, but the vapid nature of much of the songwriting cripples the longevity of this already-short 15 minutes. Some solo’s or leads would have been nice, something to shine outside the blandly textured, uniform concrete chugs, but alas, there’s none to be found. One song does show promise, however, the closer Harvesting Human Flesh, which shifts through a variety of paces and riffs, displaying the fact that the band could indeed be good, if they put some thought into it.
At length, I found maybe 6 minutes of this worth listening to, but it’s spliced so evenly into the regurgitated breaks and mutes that the whole thing ends up feeling pretty uniformly bland. I must make the distinction, however, that I don’t necessarily think Till Man Exists No More is bad, exactly; it just almost entirely lacks any dynamic touches. It’s functional enough to probably work well in the live setting, and if you’re the type who enjoys both the brutal bloodshed of Suffocation and the jock-core slamming of Haatebreed, you might find this an appropriately battering little jaunt. However, functionality does not inherently breed memorability, and despite some good intentions and appreciably violent instrumentation, this does pretty much nothing for me.