Monstrosity
The Passage of Existence
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Though the band’s debut’ Imperial Doom is regarded as a Floridian death metal classic  (“Horror Infinity” still gets regular airplay for me), in the grand scheme of things, Monstrosity were never quite as revered as brethren like Deicide, Obituary, Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation, or even similarly peripheral Brutality, being not quire as productive, unique or consistent in the long run. After only 5 albums in the same time span as their more prolific peers, the band sort of disappeared after 2007s Spiritual Apocalypse.

Well, lone original member Lee Harrison got a few chums together , both old (bassist Mike Pioggone, vocalist Mike Hrubovcak, guitarist Mark English from Spiritual Apocalypse, who have stayed plenty busy since) and new (guitarist  Matt Barnes of Chaos Inception) from the band’s back catalog and reformed the band and has released album number 6, and its a mighty fine return.

Monstrosity never truly had their own genre defining,  identifying sound like some of their peers above, they were just good at what they did back then, And that holds true after an 11 year lay off, as The Passage of Existence is  skilled, competent, enjoyable exercise in no frills, tried and trusted Floridian death metal.

One really only need check out the first released single from the album, opener “Cosmic Pandemia” to appreciate what the whole album delivers: sharp, stabbing, polished death metal with lots of leads performed by genre veterans and consummate pros. The likes of “Maelstrom”, “Radiated”,  “The Hive”, “Solar Vacuum” and “The Proselygeist” are all exactly what you’d expect, there a couple of hints of atmospherics, but for the most part it’s stoutly by the numbers and vehemently consistent Floridian death metal done right.

The only niggling factor for me is that with Jason Suecof at the helm and Mark English on guitar, who both appear on the new Deicide album, there is some slight crossover in some of the guitar tone (which is virtually identical to Deicide’s Overtures of Blasphemy), delivery, riffs and especially the leads (i.e “Eyes Upon the  Abyss”,”Eternal Void”, “‘Kingdom of Fire”) that I can’t help feel are a little too ‘samey’ sounding (at times, only Benton’s voice kept me clued in to who I was listening to), and like almost 30 years ago, it prevents  Monstrosity from having truly unique sound and character of their own, despite The Passage of Existence being a damn fine album in its own right .

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 3rd, 2018

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