Near Death Condition
Evolving Towards Extinction

Unique Leader Records is on a definite upswing. Dating back to last year’s Rings of Saturn,  Pyrexia, Deeds of Flesh and Deprecated releases and opening up 2014 with Soreption’s killer  Engineering the Void (one of my contenders for album of the year), Alterbeast, and Iceland’s Beneath (review coming soon)  and this, the third album (though the first I have heard) from Switzerland’s long running Near Death Condition, the label is killing tech and brutal death metal with quality and quantity.

While hardly a hotbed of tech death metal, these Swiss lads know their way around the genre. They have what you would consider a typical ‘Unique Leader sound’, that’s to say brutal, fast and technical death metal with guttural vocals. But Near Death Condition, like Soreption throw in a few orchestrated (literally) and choral curveballs here and there by way of some sudden choirs or dramatic brass section spurts. They are neither long nor over used, as Fleshgod Apocalpyse or Agiel this is not, but often only a few sudden seconds, but they work as sort of effective  ‘wake up calls’  amid the back bone of furious modern death metal.

And that back bone is tangibly linked to the swirling otherworldly, backwards riffage of Trey Azagoth and Morbid Angel’s peak. Case and point, I actually thought the start of 4th track “Pandemic of Ignorance” and 6th track, “The Anatomy of Disgust”), were both a cover of “God of Emptiness”. Another band I hear, especially in the echoe-y, space-y solos (i.e opener ‘Words of Wisdom”, ‘”Intelligent Design”, “Evolving Towards Existence”)  is the UKs Mithras, who themselves are heavy Morbid Angel devotees. There is a perfect balance of choppy blasting riffs and more controlled slower lurches, the latter of which are very well done, especially on “Anagamin”, “Vertigo” and monolithic closer and personal favorite “Nostalgia For Chaos” (which also has a “God of Emptiness” vibe to it).

The musicianship is expectedly tight and flawless it its execution of the genre, but Near Death Condition add just enough wrinkles whether the unexpected choral bursts (“Between the Dying and the Dead”, “Intelligent Design”, “”Nostalgia For Chaos”)  or just downright good death metal chops to make the album way above average and continue  Unique  Leader’s excellent run.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 2nd, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Kevin E.

    UL is one of my favorite labels, and this albums kills. Jammed this one multiple times over the past month.


  2. Commented by: F. Rini

    Erik-well written and truthful review. I’m sending you my interview with them next wk!!! \m/


  3. Commented by: krustster

    Good album but it was a little disappointing for me compared to the previous one. It didn’t have the incredible speed and power of tracks like “In the Name of the Destructive Storm God”. They sounded closer to the awesome band Lost Soul on that album, and this one is, as you said, more of a Morbid Angel type things.


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