For me, Pathology was the gateway to slam. I still recall the first time I ever experienced their music: Boxing Day, years ago, I went to the now-defunct record store Zeus in search of some new metal to feast my ears upon. I saw Legacy of the Ancients with its striking cover, adorned with a sticker saying that Pathology “represents more death than a mass grave in Columbia.” My thoughts in a word: sold. I would later see Pathology live, and mistakenly congratulate then-frontman Jonathan Huber for Matti Way’s great performance on Legacy of the Ancients. Huber was a great sport about that, to his immense credit. Anyhow, Pathology’s ninth record and first eponymous offering sees Mr. Way back behind the mic, and nostalgia compelled me to jump at the opportunity to review this new record and see how much death it represents.

Being my entrance into the sounds of slam violence, I tried to rediscover why Pathology initially appealed to me. Their trick is to take fairly typical, representative death metal like Cannibal Corpse, Severe Torture, and Broken Hope and then render those bodies of work into chunky viscera by way of streamlining and simplification. Much of Pathology, here and elsewhere, is loosely slam; the term “brutal death metal” often evokes a bit too much technicality to describe adequately what’s going on here, but Pathology generally carries a sense of musical urgency (for lack of a better term) not always present in the most guttural, gutter-dwelling slam.

Given that Pathology’s sound has changed a bit over the years, how you’ll feel about their ninth record depends entirely on how much you liked Legacy of the Ancients and what came before it as opposed to Awaken to the Suffering and what came after. Pathology tries to bridge those two gaps, but definitely errs more on the side of their later sound. “Shudder” hearkens back to “Code Injection” in its verse, but veers into something thrashier and more straightforwardly death metal than the slam-fest of that track. This makes for a quality tune that stands out from the pack by a small margin. “Opprobrium” brings the melodeath influence of Legacy’s standout “Among Giants” back while also turning in some good slams to keep the brutality going. It’s another success that stands out eventually instead of immediately.

Pathology’s single-minded focus on their particular brand of brutality is admirable and makes for a good listen, but their ninth record tends to blend together if you’re not paying close attention. The prevalence of samples in slam is useful for separating tracks, but Pathology aren’t in the business of wasting time; there is nary a second here that’s not occupied by punishing simplicity. Matti Way’s vocals are impressively guttural, but the vocal agility he possessed on records like Legacy of the Ancients and Abominable Putridity’s The Anomalies of Artificial Origin has been lost in the process. A blunt and constant hammer that matches the music to a tee, it fits the sound the band seems to be going for but in turn reaps the sour rewards of the incessant quality present in the music. A weird obsession with double-tracking also makes “Lamentation,” otherwise a very good brutal death metal song, less enjoyable than it should be.

True to form since Awaken, Pathology is clean, clear, and loud, and it works for the band’s newer direction. While I certainly enjoyed Pathology’s latest like I enjoy all of their material, it’s a fleeting enjoyment that I don’t come back to all that often. Like a decent B-grade horror film with oodles of gore and dismemberment, this hits the spot when you’re in the mood for what it has to offer and is a fun time worth having if you want slam that’s relatively accessible and of good quality. There’s a ceiling of sorts for this type of music, one which prevents it from climbing to the heights of greatness but endears it to a whole bunch of people. This is red meat for the Pathology base, no more and no less. Predictably fun yet predictably predictable, Pathology brings nothing new to the table, but whatever’s in the ninth helping still tastes good enough.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Comatose Music
Websites: pathologymusic.com | facebook.com/pathologymusic
Releases Worldwide: July 21st, 2017

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  • Viktor Svensson

    That “Ambient Metal” tag at the top has to be either a mistake or a very peculiar kind of joke.

    • Thatguy

      Fixed now it seems. A shame really – it would have been a good joke.

      But really, I don’t know what the audience is for this. I hate to say it is unlistenable crap, but this is unlistenable crap.

      • Malhorne

        The vocals are ruining it for sure

  • Wes Allen

    I love me some chunky viscera in my metal.

  • Wilhelm

    All I hear is pig squeals over random riffs that could be thrown together in five minutes.

  • Drew Music

    Those vocals are the epitome of what the uninitiated arbitrarily believe all metal to sound like. The music really isn’t bad, but those vocals aren’t doing anybody any favors.

    • I thought maybe I am just to big of a wimp to appreciate these vocals.

      • Drew Music

        Nah, I listen to Maladie and this didn’t sit well with me. There are some decent bands that utilize pig squealing in a tolerable way – Delta immediately comes to mind – but this particular delivery does nothing for me.

        • As has or will become obvious I strongly prefer clean vocals but I can take some harsher styles. This, though, oy.

          • Drew Music

            Opeth were essential for my own appreciation of harsh vocals to grow. Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries are pretty unfuckwithable, but for some reason I’m gonna recommend you check out a band called Fever Sea, specifically the track “The King Immersed.” The balance and effective delivery there should be pretty appealing to you.

          • My guitar player was really into Opeth for a good decade or so. I own “Deliverance” and “Watershed”. I will give Fever Sea a spin. I can listen to harsh vocals to an extent and my guitar player tried since 2001 to get me to listen to more of it, I just am a sucker for a Geoff Tate or Andi Deris and find myself gravitating that direction the vast majority of the time. However, I always keep an open mind and give everything a shot.

          • Drew Music

            If you liked Fever Sea, tell yo friends! They’ve been around for a couple of EPs but no full lengths yet, and they seem to be relatively unknown, let the people know what they’re missing!

          • I have listened, it is pretty good but probably not something I will turn back to often (I will definitely return to it as it is well played). I do like the progressions that Squaring the Circle goes through. I have passed it on to those who are trve of heart and will appreciate it more than myself.

          • Drew Music

            That’s more than I’d expect from somebody who doesn’t expect to revisit them, strong work.

          • I like when someone performs their music well and trve. It’s not my cup of tea, but the tracks on their bandcamp were legitimately enjoyable even if not my preferred style. It’s something I’d probably listen to 3 or 4 times a year but I bet my guitarist and two other friends of mine will really like it so thanks for the tip.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Benighted

          • Drew Music

            Then Benighted I shall investigate. Similar musical vein with less pigotry, I suggest Delusions of Grandeur if you’re unfamiliar with them, “Spawn of Sagan” and “Megalodon” being two particularly killer tracks.

    • Slam Grandpa

      The album itself is a pretty decent Slam album (I found that the lack of dynamic to the structures of the songs and vocals kinda made it a “eh” Slam album) definitely not Pathology’s best but there’s a few tracks that do have some sense of dynamic that makes it a really fun listen. Slam vocals take a while to get used to like how it is for most Metal fans to get used to Extreme Metal vocals, Slam vocals aren’t always “bree bree bree” or “gruu gruu gruu” if you look at Slam bands like Wormed, Defeated Sanity, and Diphenylchloroarsine, they are definitely Slam bands that bring something unique to the table

      • Drew Music

        See, Wormed I like, Defeated Sanity even more so, I’ll probably look into the others later. This, though… Pass.

        • welyyt

          Wormed are great, but they are tech-death flavored slam, right? I haven’t got into Defeated Sanity yet (recommendations are welcome), but I’ve heard that they are somewhat progressive/techy. That being said, I’d love to hear the best “pure” slam records, because I’ve only heard Abominable Putridity’s The Anomalies of Artificial Origin, which left me kinda cold.

          • Drew Music

            I’m admittedly not the most frequent purveyor of slam, so I’m not loaded with suggestions for once. If we’re counting Wormed then I guess I’d suggest Exile, but they’re definitely not pure slam. Who knows, though, go on a YouTube surf playing through related bands, maybe you’ll find some new bands and an appreciation for the genre. There’s far too much wonderfvl black metal out right now for me to deal with such piggy fare, but I wish you luck.

          • welyyt

            Fair enough, but gimme your top 3 black releases of the year so far.

          • Drew Music

            Oh Jesus… If I really had to pick a top 3, like gun to my head and everything, then my top 5 (I ain’t scurred) black(est/ish) would include (I absolutely will not attempt to narrow this down in any order) Woe’s Hope Attrition, Aversio Humanitatis’s Longing for the Untold,
            Dodecahedron’s Kwintessens, Highland’s Loyal to the Night Sky, Enisum’s Seasons of Desolation, and Somnium Nox’s Terra Inanis. This is only my black metal shortlist (done at work so no italics today), doing a top 10(ish) is gonna be a fucking nightmare.

          • welyyt

            Of those, I’ve only heard Kwintessens, but I’m loving Hope Attrition so far, so thanks for the recs!

          • Drew Music

            That’s what I’m here for!

          • Slam Grandpa

            Yo Drew, loving that list man, I mostly agree with your pick for Dodecahedron’s record (since I love me some crazy Avant-garde BM) but that Aversio Humanitatis record… the first thing I saw its album cover, I was pretty much like… “Yep, this is gonna be good isn’t it?” lol (I can give you my top 10 but right now I’m in the process of changing it up as re-listen to multiple albums rip)

          • Drew Music

            The cover was exactly what drew me to AH, along with them being from Spain (I like as much geographic versatility in my library as is humanly possible – you should also check out Arallu, from Israel!)
            And by all means, if you feel like posting your own running list do it up, I absolutely love digging through the different shit everyone else finds. Rank/standing doesn’t particularly matter to me, the powers of YouTube and my own opinion combined will get me where I need to be.

          • Slam Grandpa

            Hmm Arallu’s new album is coming out in September… I should check out their other albums in the meantime (damn I should really be hanging out in bandcamp more often lol) if you want this is the list of my Top 10 Albums of this year that I made so far.. *btw would love to hear your thoughts and if you can give me more recommendations based off my list, I would love that since I see you on bandcamp a lot lol
            1. Fen – Winter (Despite the good ol’ people of AMG giving this like a 2.5? due to being too long and stuff, this is no problem for a dude like me that’s been in the ABM scene long enough. I love the Atmosphere and Post-Rock riffs along with the good ol’ ABM blast beats, really gives you the hint how Winter was a season of Death back in the old days)
            2. Dying Fetus – Wrong One To Fuck With (I f**king love Dying Fetus, sadly I don’t consider this album to be as good as Reign Supreme but I love it anyways)
            3. Dodecahedron – Kwintessens (10 years since their debut… still crazy Avant-garde BM as always lol)
            4. White Ward – Futility Report (Ukrainian Post-Black Metal band that has the occasional Saxophone in their songs, I like very much)
            5. Persefone – Aathma (Uh… Paul from Cynic was featured on one of the songs, you pretty much can expect that I love this album)
            6. Soen – Lykia (They sound more than just like Tool in this album, now they sound like Tool + Opeth + Pink Floyd + Anathema lol)
            7. Heretoir – The Circle (Good ol’ emotional Post-Black Metal from Germany, good stuff)
            8. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World (They gave this a 4.5 on this site right? Well I liked it but sadly all the other albums impacted me much more lol)
            9. Havukruunu – Kelle surut soi (Finnish Black Metal at its finest)
            10. Immolation – Atonement (these Brooklyn Death Metallers never cease to amaze me)

          • Drew Music

            That is a list I can get behind, good Grampa. Right off the bat, Epitemia’s (un)Reality is definitely worth checking out if you like sax in metal. I guess progressive blackened death would be fair for them, it’s a double concept album and it’s fuckin awesome. Maladie’s Still should also be right up your alley, avant-garde black metal also featuring killer sax work. If you dig Fen – as you should, they rock – then you might also dig Reclaim the Darkness by King, as well as Earthdiver by Cormorant. Neither sound like Fen, but both are doing enough similar stuff that you should be able to dig them. I strongly recommend Orwell’s AVOHFASIH, and lastly I think the self-titled King Apathy/Thränen Kind (I curse them for English-ing their original name) and Failure, Subside by Départe were among the greatest, most criminally overlooked albums of last year.
            That’s it for now, and I hope you dig most of them as they all kick ass. I’m always looking to spread the heavy word, feel free to ask for recommendations anytime.

          • Slam Grandpa

            Thanks Drew, you’re a really solid dude. I have plenty of knowledge of albums (also already know a few you recommended, also Départe was my s**t when it came out last year) but I lack the writing ability to fully describe my feelings towards albums I like, so it’s really hard for me to “sell” albums to people who ask me for recommendations lol. Of the ones you recommended that are new to me I’ll check out Earthdriver and AVOHFASIH, thanks for taking the time to recommend these albums to me Drew, hope to see you comment here and on bandcamp from time to time lol.

          • Drew Music

            Eh, I’m alright, but seriously, any time, I love talking tunes. Keep your eyes peeled, you’ll probably be hearing more from me.

          • Slam Grandpa

            All right, good ol’ Slam Grandpa will hit you up with a few PURE SLAM albums that I liked *warning some covers will be super gory, but hey Slam isn’t for the faint of heart or ears lol*
            1. Parasitic Ejaculation – Crazy Slam band from the US man, they do the occasional BREE BREE BREE and GRUU GRUU GRUU but their vocalist brings in a sense of dynamic to his vocals so it won’t be too samey all the time (I recommend their recently released album “Isolation”)
            2. Analepsy – Super edgy band name am I right? lmao, anyhow this Slam band from Portugal adds in cool tech riffs and stuff to their formula so it’s always something new along with the ocasional BREE and GRUU (I recommend the album they released this year, Atrocities from Beyond)
            3. Kraanium – This is pretty much the Norwegian Slam band you go to after Internal Bleeding and stuff, sadly their main vocalist took his own life this year so may he rest in peace… Thank you for the disgustingly Brutal Slam Martin
            4. Centopath – Good ol TechSlam from Turkey, well respected Slam band, their album Perverse Dehumanized Dysfunctions that they released this year was pretty dope
            5. Cordyceps – Found out about this band from the segments Trevor from the Black Dahlia Murder does on Metal Injection, good Slam from the US, kinda Tech but much Slam.
            6. Diphenylchloroarsine – Disgusting sludgy Slam super group featuring members of Kraanium and Carnal Disfigurement. It’s crazy Slam man, their album that they recently released Post Apocalyptic Human Annihilation is SLAMMING good along with their debut ep The 6 Level Purge
            7. Gorevent – Japanese Slam band, Japan is surprisingly a big contributor to the Slam scene with bands like Vomit Remnants and others. Sadly BABY METAL and all their Visual Kei + Weird as f**k Metal bands overshadow these BRVTAL Japanese Slam bands
            8. Traumatomy – Russian and Japanese Slam bands unite!
            9. The Dark Prison Massacre – Chinese Slam Band, interested now?
            10. Visceral Decay – Slam from Ecuador, even more interested now? (well not that surprising, Spanish people love to SLAM)
            Hope you check out these bands dude, not sure if it’ll be enough to convince you to listen to Slam but eh it’s fine, it’s not for everyone

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            Serious slam knowledge being dropped and we’ll written too, nice! I’m reading this sitting on a night bus in Ecuador, so you caught my interest with Visceral Decay though slam is not my primary vice. Would be dope to bang heads with some local dudes in Andes…

          • welyyt

            Thanks gramps, I really enjoyed the new Analepsy, will get through the rest asap.

          • Jeebuz

            You’re just listing bands from YouTube’s slam worldwide.

          • Slam Grandpa

            Jeebuz Nah, all these bands are on Slam Worldwide because they’re actually a “good channel” I know of these bands through reddit and looking through “similar artists” on Metallum buddy (also I had to check my folder filled with Slam bands, which isn’t small so I had to list the easiest ones that I knew that I liked)

          • Name’s Dalton

            Analepsy.

  • A serious question – are there any lyrics on this album, or just constant “oyoyoyoyoyoy”?

    • WhamBamSam

      I heard a few other random vowels. Also I think the word “raise” or “raising” a few times and something about “as I lie.”

    • The embedded Pathology track unfortunately gives crystal credibility to people who poke fun and generalize all metal together and cast it off as nonsense based on vocals alone.

      JC sums it up nicely:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9rdQdz7WRA

      • Soge

        In other words, Jim Carrey predicted the rise of modern pop metal.

    • ElectricEye

      I was listening to something like this once and my Dad commented that it sounded like an ultrasound machine. Can’t say he was wrong.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s the whole “vocals are a rhythmic instrument in death metal” idea taken to its utmost extreme. There are words, but they are extremely difficult to decipher.

      • Name’s Dalton

        I love it.

        That is all.

  • Alexandre Barata

    When a slam album has higher dr than a tech death album… Slam is great fun, it’s party music for laughs and shits. Got listen to this one with my pre-historic “clothes” on!!

  • Slam Grandpa

    Here we go again, people making fun of Slam vocals… Well I for one as a Slam fan found this album to be good yet despite the layering on Matti’s vocals I felt there was a lack of dynamic on them. Aside from that, the first track of this album has to be my fave, reminds me of the good ol TechSlam that i love with the Wormed like riff in the middle of the song. Anyways, people will never appreciate Slam vocals but eh, I’ll enjoy it like I always have

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      The layering was a bit much for me as well. Way’s performances are normally highlights, but I wouldn’t have known it was him here if I didn’t read the credits.

    • Name’s Dalton

      I love it.

      That is all.

  • Reading comments about the vocals, this style either “works” or it doesn’t and I couldn’t get past them on this one. I don’t know why they need to layer an “eeeeee” with another “eeeee.” At all. On the new DB album on the other hand I think the monotone vox work extremely well.

    • Slam Grandpa

      I agree with this statement as well, but sadly people have also complained about the vocals on the Decrepit Birth albums as well (I for one had no problem with them, the only qualm I had was that it sounded like the vocals were being drowned by all the instruments so I wish the mixing was a little different) “Slam Vocals” work only for people who have listened to the genre long enough, my 1st step was to appreciate Suffocation’s Effigy of the Forgotten then I moved on to Internal Bleeding and got more into Slam, sadly as I progressed I found many bands that constantly use the stereotypical pig squeals and gutturals but I also found a few bands that have done something new. Slam isn’t a groundbreaking Metal genre but it’s fun

      • I’m biased on this new DB quite a bit…all I can think of listening to the new album is seeing them live. The singer is a force to be reckoned with on stage and that’s what I’m seeing when I hear him on this record now! It’s like I’m reliving the live show with every listen.

        As for the Slams, for me it’s like any other genre or sub genre, we’re all going to like different things and hate on different things…I can get into it as long as it happens to hit me the right way, in the end that’s all that matters!

  • Eli Valcik

    Vulvodynia actually got me into slam. Also I went to a few live shows where the openers played slam and the vocalist kept screaming about anal, and I was all like “yeah I can totally get down with this.”

    • Slam Grandpa

      Holy s**t, I see you’re a man of culture as well~ lol, anyhow yeah, Vulvodynia is a fantastic Slam band, they make the Slamcore (Slam mixed with Deathcore) genre really BRUTAL and FUN. I’m more of a TechSlam dude, Pathology is technically one of these bands but this album was more SLAM than TECH (not a bad thing tho, well for me at least)

      • Eli Valcik

        I’ve always been a Black Metal guy but I do love the occasional Slam, it’s just too fun to pass up. By the way I’ve been reading through your other posts on this review and damn man, you know your shit! Much respect coming from over here.
        edit: oh yeah, I also fucking love the “BREEE BREEE” vocals that others make fun of.

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      The latest Vulvodynia album is fucking AMAZING!!! One of the better slam bands around today for sure.

  • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

    This album is a solid 3.5/5.0 for me. I saw their video for “Code Injection” when Headbanger’s Ball was gasping its last dying breath and I was immediately hooked. Purchased that album the next day and have since bought all of their older and newer albums. They are a band that can do no wrong in my eyes.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      This one didn’t hook me nearly as much as Legacy did, but that was my introduction to the band too. “Code Injection” still rules.

      • Nathan McCain

        Sorry to necropost, but I saw you got the new Kraanialepsy split. How are you liking it? Total grower for me

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Definitely enjoying it, Kraanium’s stuff gets better on further listens while Analepsy puts forth a high quality offering like usual. It’s a nice amount of material from both bands and doesn’t sound like B-sides, so in my view it’s definitely a successful split.

  • Phil Daly

    I’ve developed a curious fascination with slam in recent months, thanks mostly to Defeated Sanity and Abominable Putridity. It’s enjoyable in a weird “Russian dash cam crash footage” way. There’s a sort of YouTube slam event horizon that you know you shouldn’t cross, yet just can’t help edging ever closer towards.

  • Tenebrae

    I cannot get into this stuff. The vocals ruin it.