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Review

Embludgeonment – Barn Burner Review

Band: Embludgeonment
Album: Barn Burner
Label: Comatose Music
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Country: United States
Release Date: April 19th, 2019

Look, I love music, I really do, but this year has been rough. I’ve listened to a lot of stuff in the last four months, and I can count the albums I’ve loved on one hand. While it’s probably because I just haven’t been picking the right stuff to listen to, I’ve struggled to connect with any of the dozens of albums I’ve checked out as of writing this. I say all this because this new Embludgeonment record has not broken the cycle.

Now, by no means is this album bad, it’s just bland. To the band’s credit, the bones of this album are solid. The vocals and performances feel really heartfelt and I never once felt like this record was being lazy. A lot of the songs are dynamic, and they never follow a set formula. There are flourishes of interesting stuff: like the guitar solo on Vociferation or the brief gang vocals on the opener. Gruesome Mortification has some nice, sinister grooves on it and I like the entire song overall. The penultimate track, Cervical Fracture, gets better as it goes and has a nice little heavy metal feeling guitar flourish towards the end. The closer is the hardest song on the album complete with a nice meaty sound to the vocals and instruments. I can wholeheartedly say that this feels like an honest record where the band really tried to put their best foot forward. However, the production on this record completely holds it back.

Almost the entirety of the production on this album is mishandled. For one, the vocals are at the very front of the mix. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but both the vocal styles on this album are a cut below average. Something like this isn’t a death sentence but the rest of the instrumentation is mixed in a way that makes them utterly lifeless. This isn’t an incompetently performed album, but it’s so clean that it loses any brutality it could have had. The guitars sound okay, but they have so much polish to them that I struggle to really connect with them in a meaningful way. The biggest production sin of all though is the drums. They are buried so far back that I had to pay extra close attention to even pick them out. The drummer wasn’t doing a bad job, and I could find no excuse for why his playing was never audible. It really harmed the record that such an essential instrument was underutilized. The music that is audible is acceptable, but it never makes me feel anything. The production on this album needed to be much filthier and heavier in order for this to feel like a proper brutal death metal record. I’m not even completely sure if this was the band’s fault, but I can’t excuse it. This is definitely an issue that should have been caught much earlier.

This project is a good example of the importance of production. None of the heart and soul of this album comes through. As a result, it sounds like another ordinary death metal album. With some significant changes this could have been a pretty decent project. I know these guys haven’t been around for too long and I hope this album is just a bump in the road for them. Embludgeonment has the fundamentals of a solid band but are held back by mishandled engineering throughout the project.  

Rating: 5/10

Tracklist:

  1. Transfixed Impalement
  2. Vociferation
  3. Neanderthal
  4. Abysmal Plot
  5. Corpse Shed
  6. Witch Cunt
  7. Gruesome Mortification
  8. Cervical Fracture
  9. In Consternation

Total Playing Time: 33:28

Click here to visit Embludgeonment’s Bandcamp

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