NeurogenicArtworkAlthough death metal forms a sizable chunk of my metal rotation, it’s often maligned offshoot, brutal death, can prove a more awkward pill to swallow and a difficult style to get right. Too often brutal death bands over focus on the sheer obliterating brutality and over-the-top extremity, where decent songwriting becomes an afterthought. Fortunately, the occasional band will rise above the mediocrity and hit that bloodied sweet spot. The recent slamtastic sophomore album from Vulvodynia was a prime example of brutal slamming death done right, deservedly receiving high praise by our very own Diabolus in Muzaka for its disgustingly hefty combo of top-notch riffing, surprisingly varied songwriting and vocal dynamics, and of course ample servings of gut-busting slams. Above all the album delivered tons of fun, an often overlooked component for writing good brutal death. Well, it’s time to get slammed again, folks! Something of a veteran International super-slam powerhouse has emerged from the brutal death bog, featuring seasoned members from a vast range of underground bands, including Fleshbomb, Anomalous, Derogation, Execration and Back Door to Asylum.

Despite the band’s significant underground pedigree, Neurogenic aren’t in the game to revolutionize the genre, instead tipping their caps to usual suspects like Disgorge and Putridity without sounding too derivative. Neurogenic’s debut LP, Ouroboric Stagnation, is largely textbook brutal death stuff, full of  putrid, bowel rotting riffs, pinch harmonics galore, grotesque guttural voKILLS and frantically precise drumming. Musically, Neurogenic execute with the kind of tight, technical proficiency you’d expect from seasoned vets specializing in this stuff. Throw in some killer bass licks and obligatory slammy groove sections and you have a basic recipe for a solid brutal death workout. Right off the bat Neurogenic detonate the relentlessly visceral “Absorption of Oblivion,” a volatile powder keg of tight, frantic over-the-top riffing and jack-hammering percussion soaked up by respite-giving grooves. Individual performances are tight and technically solid, especially the unforgiving drum work of Marco Pitruzzella (Six Feet Under) and wildly entertaining bass playing of Anton Zhikharev. The aforementioned rhythm section enlivens the album, particularly on fierce later album cut, “Spirited Bloody Emesis,” while the nifty tempo variations and savagely low slams define the powerhouse “Warden Domain.”

Each song is compacted into frenetic nuggets of speed-laced ugliness, never exceeding the three-minute mark, with the entire onslaught over in a mere 25 efficient minutes. This proves a wise move, as the violently deranged delivery and constant in-your-face intensity would most probably develop into monotony during a longer time-frame. Interesting snippets of instrumentation and trick shots crop up from time to time, such as the spacious guitar harmonies overlaying ridiculously tight double bass work on “Immersion,” or the weirdly discordant shifting and complex rhythms on tasteful instrumental “Vortex of Uncreation.” Moments like these showcase the talents and gifted musicianship at Neurogenic’s disposal. Sadly, the songwriting standard doesn’t consistently match up.

Neurogenicbandpic

Ouroboric Stagnation’s relentless intensity is impressive, but not always enough to mask some inferior songwriting traits and a lack of memorable riffs. Much of the material comes across as a bit too one-dimensional, with more character and distinction required to hold my interest and give me the incentive to revisit the album regularly. Regarding the production, considerable low-end and thick, discernible tones dominate proceedings. Though I’m realistic enough not to enter a brutal death album expecting hugely sophisticated and dynamic production, unfortunately Ouroboric Stagnation features a face smashing brickwall, sporting a miserly DR3. Coupled with the typical obnoxiousness of the brutal death template, too much of this shit can prove headache inducing and ear fatiguing, especially at higher volumes.

Neurogenic’s debut probably offers enough for brutal death aficionados to enjoy until something better comes along. There’s certainly aspects of the album I enjoyed, despite some mediocre songwriting passages and disappointing mastering. Some solid content aside, overall, Ouroboric Stagnation is a mixed bag that struggles to ignite the brutal death metal scene in particularly exciting or memorable ways.


Rating: Mixed
DR: 3 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Comatose Music
Websites: neurogenic.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/neurogenic
Releases Worldwide: September 2nd, 2016

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  • Kronos

    Way to take one for the team, champ!

    • DR3. Ouch. I mean really.

    • Luke_22

      Ha, I don’t often get to review brutal death stuff but I went into this optimistic. But yeah, you know the rest.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I was about to comment on how they didn’t have the courtesy to let you review this, Kronos…

  • Iain Gleasure

    These guys must be Trve though! You can’t read the logo at all!

    • Luke_22

      Everything about that cover art screams brutal death.

      • DrChocolate

        Everything about the thick necks screams BDM. You know the old adage, “the thicker the neck the more brutal the slam.”

        • Brian

          Was the guy in the vest wearing a scarf while tanning or something? What’s with the pale line all the way round his neck?

          • GardensTale

            When in rest, his head sinks down, with the neckfolds collapsing inward.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            The other guys in the band had him shave his neckbeard for the picture shot.

  • Reese Burns

    Yeah, I don’t think these guys are gonna be bumping Cryptopsy or Wormed out of my playlist anytime soon. Decent stuff though, I guess.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Am I the only one to be reminded of a fax machine tone by the pinch harmonics on the embedded track? Am I crazy? Am I too old? Am I crazy and old?

    • Dr. Wvrm

      What’s a fax machine?

      • [not a Dr]

        It’s an office prank. You tell the new employees that it can send documents by landline to another fax machine, but it can’t! The documents always come back out!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        “Back then” there was an office party and Landline Telephone and Copy Machine got really, really drunk… Fax Machine is their lovechild.

    • Blueberry Balls

      I love them! Fucking cool shit!!!! Those arent all pinched though. Thats some pretty technical work, I am impressed – it is fairly innovative, Ive never heard runs like that in that style. Cool shit.

      • [not a Dr]

        I like these details, but not the whole…

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I agree… It’s impressive and I’ve never heard pinch harmonics runs like that before.

  • Blueberry Balls

    Very, very cool harmonics work in that embedded track. I think its unique and fresh. Bassline is nice too. vocals & drumming, heard it a million times before…

  • Zac Melvin-McNutt

    It would seem that 2016 has been a bit of a down year for quality BDM releases, with Wormed being the exception. Had very high hopes for this, solid album but not an exceptional one.

  • GardensTale

    More like OuroBORING Stagnation! Am I right? Eh eh? …guys?

  • RuySan

    I was expecting jokes about the band photo. I am disappointed.