Schizophrenia – Recollections of the Insane Review

In the Year of Our Plague 2020, a lusty and savage dose of black/speed/thrash hit the planet with the force of a 6-megaton billy buck. I speak of Bütcher‘s sophomore platter, 666 Goats Carry My Chariot. It was such a wild, unruly paean to excess that it proved nigh impossible to resist. 2022 sees a band emerge from Bütcher‘s bloody Belgian backyard carrying fewer goats but much of the same speed-drenched lunacy.1 Schizophrenia‘s Recollections of the Insane debut assaults with a thrashing, skull-bashing style of death metal sure to conjure nostalgia as it curb stomps the unwary with lightning riffs and flashy chops. At no time is the boot ever taken off the accelerator as this is speed for speed’s sake and excess for the sheer enjoyment of gluttony. That means a good time is coming at you like a nuclear-powered bullet train on well-lubricated laser tracks. There’s so little time to get out of the way. NOW LESS!

Because fuck subtlety, things explode with wild opener “Divine Immolation,” and off to the races we go at unsafe speeds (the brakes have been disabled because slow is for the weak). It’s more a crazed 80s thrash anthem than actual death metal, but Riccardo Mandozzi’s rough, somewhat deathy rasps allow it to pass as such, if only just. You will detect the stench of early Sepultura, vintage Slayer and classic Pestilence as you get flash-fried in the fires of blinding speed, but the band that kept coming to mind most as the song flayed my earholes was highly underrated NYC wrecking crew Demolition Hammer. “Cranial Disintegration” ups the everything for more relentless raving, and a strong Carcass aroma wafts through the air as riffs cascade and drums pulp your spinal integrity. It’s undeniably frantic fun, and the band has serious technical ability to boot. “Sea of Sorrow” is the album highpoint for me, poaching the sound and feel of Kreator‘s immortal Pleasure to Kill opus while borrowing from Morbid Angel and Heartwork along the way. It’s just so fanatical and rib-rattling that you can’t help but buy-in and go batcrap apeshit. The fluid, flashy solos that cut through the speed-mongering are delightful and the whole thing reeks of unbridled enthusiasm.

The rest of Recollections can’t quite match the merciless might of the early tracks, though things do remain consistently entertaining and disproportionately speedy. “Souls of Retribution” goes back to the Altars of Madness to steal more Morbid treasures, and the bubbly, proggy solo that appears on the back half is a thing of hideous beauty that could have appeared on any late era Death platter. Dynamic closer “Stratified Realities” is another standout, with a strong Consuming Impulse era Pestilence vibe and some intriguing flirtations with Coroner-style thrash prog. Other cuts are good, but don’t always leave the same size 13 imprint on your ass. “Onward to Fire” incorporates some tasty blackened elements but it runs too long for its own good, and “Fall of the Damned” could also use some trimming. Even highlights like “Cranial Disintegration” exceed recommended thrash/death lengths and there’s an ideal stopping point at the 3:20 mark that they blow right by to pound away for another minute. Still, when things are done with this much dedication to destruction, one can overlook the collateral damage. At a relatively concise 43 minutes, this doesn’t feel like too much of a vicious thing and the songs have enough variation to prevent a bleed-over effect.

The berserk six-string abuse by Romeo Promos and Marty VK makes Recollections worth hearing all by itself. This tandem brings the ostentatious overkill to their riffing and solos, and they know how to shred loud enough to wake the dead. If this thing came out in 1985, they would be spoken of in the same rarefied air as Hanneman/King and Hetfield/Hammett. Even in 2022, this showing is pretty damn impressive. Riccardo Mandozzi’s vocals are deranged and appropriately histrionic, adding more instability to an album already flying well off the rails. I do wish he would delve deeper into death metal vocals, as he’s at his best when adopting a Jeff Walker-esque death sneer. Other times he settles into a standard thrash bark with less wow factor. Since extra extremity is always the best choice, I much prefer the former. The whole band is tight and deadly and leaves no stone unturned before clubbing the listener with it.

Recollections of the Insane may have fewer goats-per-second than Bütcher‘s latest, but it’s right up there in the bonkers department. If you can look past some ludicrous-speed bloat, you’ll find a high octane, balls to the wall death/thrash album ready to punish posers and pretenders the world over. What the fook is in the water over in Belgium these days, and where do I get me some of that stuff? Buckle up, Belgium cups.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: February 18th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. And Bütcher‘s drummer, Lorenzo Vissol.
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