Semantic satiation is what happens when a word is repeated over and over again, causing it to briefly seem devoid of meaning. I’m no cognitive psychologist, but it seems to me that the same thing can happen with death metal. Brazilian death squad Pathologic Noise don’t make terrible music, but repeated listens to it was the brutal equivalent of semantic satiation, leaving many riffs and transitions in a weird sort of purgatory, giving me little in the way of concrete thoughts about its content, and sometimes making me forget what even constitutes great death metal in the first place. Of course that was all recovered upon listening to Cause of Death and the like, but Gore Aberration gave me the odd and wholly unpleasant sensation of simultaneously having nothing bad to say about the music itself but struggling to find any impressive or truly noteworthy aspects just the same.
A big factor here is the style Pathologic Noise traffics in, which leaves little room for major complaints. Brazilian death metal is normally defined by Sepultura and Sarcofago, but Gore Aberration seems to draw heavily on Holocausto for its template. Replace the proto-black influences on Campo Di Exterminio with Floridian death like early Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, add some Autopsy, season with some noticeable sloppiness, and you’ve got a good idea of what Pathologic Noise sound like. Gore Aberration is no-frills and packs absolutely zero surprises, so those looking for death metal will get exactly what they came for on a stylistic level with no forced acoustic bits, clean singing, or modern djent-y tomfoolery.
Opening up with what seems to be the band’s mission statement, “Never Ending Blood n’ Hate” is Gore Aberration‘s best song by a small margin. It’s amusingly campy, has a solo that reminds me of The Tomb Within‘s title track, and is overall a fun and fairly concise platter o’ entrails. Slayer‘s influence on death metal shines through during parts of “Calling With the Dead’s” grammatical nihilism due to some similarities to Hell Awaits that pop up rather frequently and are nicely offset by a simple chugging riff. Tchescko Suppurator’s vocals are a gruff, natural growl that most likely wouldn’t change a bit live, and this contributes to the loose appeal Gore Aberration is clearly going for. In “Sexual Murder” all of the above align themselves properly with some decent lead melodies, well-phrased vocal lines, and fairly catchy riffs doing all that needs to be done and no more in under three and a half minutes. Brevity is a virtue here, as generally speaking Pathologic Noise know when to stop playing and move on.
What they don’t know is how to properly distinguish themselves within the larger death metal scene. This is fun enough and decent overall, but like many releases this year it will be forgotten in 2016 if not before year’s end. Where a band like Undead evokes classic Pestilence and Death consistently and well enough to stand out, Pathologic Noise brings a less interesting version of Vile along for the ride on “Pathologic Metal Vision” and while I probably like Corpsegrinder’s Cannibal Corpse debut more than most, I’d much sooner throw something else on than a lesser version of it. The sloppy playing is fun during the blasting sections (of which there are many), but during the slowdown in “Lights on the Dark Sky” the need for a working metronome becomes a major hindrance. The production is, to put it kindly, like stepping in dog shit with your ears. The roughness is good, the bass is high, the drums are okay, but even though it’s only squashed to DR5 it still clips all over the place and actively lessened my enjoyment of the record. It sounds like they did a garage-style recording and then compressed it to oblivion, nullifying the appeal of such a production style in a baffling way.
Overall Gore Aberration is fine, but it’s just not interesting enough to warrant many replays. If you want to hear old school death metal, there are tons of hidden gems and newer bands admirably carrying the torch. Nothing here is better than their obvious influences or the majority of their contemporaries, which makes this almost impossible to recommend. While there were enjoyable parts here, they’re ultimately indistinguishable from most other competent but unremarkable death metal bands you hear once and brush aside for superior tunes both new and old. I listened far more than once mind you, but that was out of my obligation to review the record. If I was solely listening for my own enjoyment, I would’ve spent exponentially less time with Gore Aberration.