Russian tech-death machine Defect Designer had an interesting couple of years since their 2009 debut, Wax. Bassist, guitarist & vocalist Dmitry Soukhinin decided to relocate from the Russian city of Novosibirsk to the much-easier-to-pronounce Olso, Norway, taking everything but his band with him. To help round out his recording line-up, Dmitry enlisted members of SepticFlesh, Trollfest, and Cryptopsy to aid in recording what would become the oddly spelled Ageing Accelerator. Now, you would think that having people from the aforementioned bands perform for your record would have the masses salivating for progressive tech-deathy goodness, and in words on a screen, it does look inviting, doesn’t it? I awaited the moment where my head was blasted clean off all while doing 8-finger tapping air-scales, windmilling my headless neck the whole time…
…and then I pressed Play. Right off the bat, there are blasting drums from Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy), but also some simplistic, almost djent-like riffing from Stelios Mavromitis (SepticFlesh), Martin Storm-Olsen (Trollfest) and Soukhinin on opening track “Corpsewatcher.” It doesn’t help matters that Soukhinin’s death growls leave a lot to be desired, almost as if he’s about to cough up something fierce within seconds of his performance. There’s a decent solo near the end of the song, but it’s far from what I call memorable or exhilarating.
With few exceptions, I’m hard-pressed to label anything on here truly progressive. It’s not all bad, mind you; “Crusaders,” which benefits from being the shortest song at just over two-and-a-half minutes, is a rager, fully showing off Mounier’s trademark blasts and groove behind the kit. There’s some solid riffing, and there are absolutely no bizarre curveballs. But I had a hell of a time trying to keep my attention focused on Ageing Accelerator as none of it grabbed me with the exception of one other song. “I Remember You Dead” starts off promising, blasting like a pissed off cousin of Cryptopsy before going into a cool little Slaughter of the Soul-era At The Gates groove complete with solo… and then there’s a funky wah guitar, followed by some oddly performed clean vocals by Storm-Olsen. This is followed shortly thereafter by a bad attempt at returning to their death roots, and finalized by a twangy, so-out-of-place-it’s-not-funny country music ending. This six-minute song had four completely different songs in it. Why was this even necessary, guys? Why?
To add to the baffling nature of Ageing Accelerator (and the former Grinnell Elementary School Spelling Bee Champion in me is cringing every fucking time I type that) are some of the production choices. It’s heavily compressed and brickwalled as it is, but there are occasions when the symphonics of Christos Antoniou (SepticFlesh) are shoved way too high in the mix for no explainable reason (the accordion in “Berenice,” “Temple of Artemis”). But even if there were dynamics full enough to make Mournful Congregation blush with joy, the songwriting just isn’t there, and honestly, I would prefer a band write solid, brutal tunes than to try to toss various genres at a wall, hoping something resembling a mind-blowing experience sticks. Hail Horror Hail this is not, folks.
And this is disappointing, given the pedigree of the guest musicians involved. Defect Designer could pull out something cohesive and enjoyable in the future, but Ageing Accelerator (*Grrrrrrr…*) isn’t it. I’m going to go back to Sigh for my fix of odd goodness.