Titled “Portals To Canaan“, today’s slab of Technical DM is by the band Deeds of Flesh, a name death metal fans should recognize already. The album has a dark sci-fi concept to it with some very imaginative lyrical content that can be summed up as a masochistic end-of-the-world fantasy about an alien race attacking earth. However, in my eyes, the demonic vengeance of the aliens is only there to symbolize the idea of anger toward’s humanity’s sins and pride, the alternative reality allowing the execution of violent justice; Like I said, there’s a very sadistic\masochistic vibe going on here.
Matching the intricacy of the lyrics, the riffs on this album are almost antagonizing in their complexity. No, in fact they *ARE* antagonizing, and alienating. If you enjoy technical metal music, you probably know how it feels to “follow” a repeating, complicated riff to its conclusion – very satisfying; but here, well, the pulverizing guitars just don’t repeat, at least not in the rational way you except them to. The different odd-time signatures and guitar parts come and go with a psychotic reasoning that totally evades me, and in such an amount that its all too much to take in; and the result? “Portals To Canaan” is such a shapeshifter that it rarely ever gives you one continuous groove to hold on to! Such a tough listen.
Luckily some tracks here do work, such as the Gorguts cover “Orphans of Sickness“. That track is just rad, and has the exact type of killer song-writing Deeds of Flesh lack on here; Coherent, concrete, in your face but freakin’ catchy – and hell why shouldn’t it be? You know, the other day I was checking out guitar tabs of some classic Death tracks: “The Philosopher”, “Crystal Mountain”, and “Pull The Plug”. And hell yeah, Chuck shredded on those songs, and his ideas were brilliant, but you know what? All those had an ultra solid, very sensible structure to them. Because sure it’s metal, it’s violent, but it’s music, damn it. Artistic freedom is important, but bands should write albums for their fans to enjoy, not stuff that will mostly just puzzle them; Just try headbanging to this album – you will often actually fail to !
Still, on the bright side, as I was going to say, “Portals to Canaan” has its fair share of redeeming qualities. Songs like “Rise of the Virvum Juggernaut“, “Entranced in Decades of psychedelic Sleep” and the title track have a lot of cool and epic moments to them, with syncopated breaks and stops that give the listener a breather in between the assaulting notes, thus making things more enjoyable. So..this is not what you’d call a bad release, but for the most part, it’s also not a very memorable one – so much content on it, but hardly anything you can later remember and share with others. Good for a listen or two, but other than that, “Portals to Canaan” has overall left me underwhelmed. 6.5/10