Galvanizer – Prying Sight of Imperception Review

I’ll readily admit to finding “great” album art mostly boring. I had to look up what this site named the best of 2020 because absolutely none of those covers stood out to me in any way. I’m still convinced the best cover from last year belonged to Witches Hammer, because the speed metal wheel destructively crashing into Earth is far cooler than some owl or whatever. To your left is another piece that will never be a contender adorning Galvanizer’s sophomore release Prying Sight of Imperception. This thing looks like Earache could’ve released it alongside their string of classics in the late 80s and early 90s1, and that’s awesome. It communicates to me that this is going to be death metal that sounds old and gets me excited to hear it.

Indeed, the Finnish Galvanizer play some olden death metal, specifically “grinding death metal.” If you’re having AMG-themed déjà vu, you probably remember Cadaveric Incubator’s Nightmare Necropolis from earlier this year. Both bands are similar in sound, having much in common with Entombed and Carcass but neatly avoiding typical Swe-death production values. While not entirely lacking in obvious melodiousness, Galvanizer really counts on the listener enjoying Symphonies of Sickness which, if you like death metal, is a safe bet.

Like on Cadaveric Incubator’s record, there’s a lot to praise here. The guitar interplay near the end of “The Inexorable” stands out for being overtly melodious but not whatsoever cheesy or Gothenburg-y, recalling Carcass nicely. “The Ever-Crescent” has an impressive lead in the style of Entombed, showing Galvanizer as adept at both band’s style of lead work. Many of the riffs have a playful and driving quality to them, such as the punkish thrashing which animates much of “Servants of the Scourge,” clearly influenced by Entombed and Nihilist but filtered through Symphonies of Sickness. “Of Flesh Unknown” fittingly concludes on a Phantasm-esque melody for good measure. The brief “Blaze from Within” is a highlight due to its sheer energy, acting as a vector between the brief grinding bursts of Reek of Putrefaction and the more involved structures of Symphonies of Sickness.

The issues with Prying Sight of Imperception are almost identical to those of Nightmare Necropolis. Galvanizer is a good band who made a good record, and plenty of people – myself included – will enjoy it for what it is. The reason to listen to it has more to do with the style and genre aesthetics than anything Galvanizer is doing here. Put differently, you probably won’t listen to Galvanizer because you want to listen specifically to Galvanizer, but rather because you want some old Entombed and Carcass type material. It doesn’t come close to its legendary influences, and if Earache had put this out in between ’89 and ’92 it would be firmly in the “also-ran” category. Where this does come close to Carcass is in the “time, time to die” phrasing in “Grotesque Devotion” which mimics too closely Surgical Steel’s “Thrasher’s Abattoir.” Riffing tends to stay at a consistently good level, nothing exceptional but nothing bad either. Prying Sight of Imperception is fun death metal done the old way, a solid take on a sound we know and love. How necessary this is depends on how much of that you want to hear, as while you won’t miss something great by not listening to this, you will miss out on an enjoyable time. I’d liken my listening experience to seeing a solid opening act that I wasn’t familiar with prior that won’t upstage the headliner but provides ample and entertaining support.

The production is pleasantly old-fashioned and sounds decidedly analog – again, much like Cadaveric Incubator. The drums here are snappier, the cymbals a bit fuller, but the bass is a bit more buried. The sound suits the style, which to my ears makes for a successful production. I’m desperately trying not to repeat what I said about Cadaveric Incubator here, but for my listening purposes the records are nearly interchangeable. Perhaps this is an emergent niche of contemporary Finnish death metal which needs more time to incubate to produce a great record, or perhaps the style will perpetually remain good. Whatever the case may be, Prying Sight of Imperception sees this little niche batting 1.000 for good records in 2021, but not yet hitting anything out of the park.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 256 kpbs mp3
Label: Everlasting Spew Records (CD) | Me Saca Un Ojo Records (LP)
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 30th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. For anyone who wants to get really pedantic, the closest companion to this cover I know of is Excruciate’s Passage of Life, which didn’t come out on Earache, and if the reader prefers they can happily replace Earache with another label known for death metal in the relevant time period.
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