The music is generally the band's most technical and brutal. Complex, unusual melodies and odd-time signatures galore, high-speed meter changes. Yet despite the album's meticulous complexity, it is still extremely metal. Fast, pummeling, choppy riffs, and some of the most brilliantly predatory guitar harmonies ever penned. At the risk of scaring some people away, I must say that this is what prog metal _should_ sound like: highly melodic and complex but still brutal & heavy. And of course, no synths. The problem with the usual prog metal bands is that their "prog factor" makes them end up sounding cheesy and not metal/brutal enough. I would not call this prog metal of course, but it has certain musical similarities (take prog metal, keep the good parts, toss the bad parts, and kick it up ten notches and you are moving towards this).
All of the songs are great. The opener "Scavenger of Human Sorrow" sets the standard high immediately with its heavy onslaught, spiraling melodies, and all-out speed. "Voice of the Soul" is remarkable: an instrumental with verses of somber, hypnotic electric guitar melodies over picked acoustic guitar and choruses of unbelievably gorgeous guitar ostinati over strummed acoustic that STILL sounds metal. There's a kinda cheesy riff on "Spiritcrusher" but it doesn't last long. The epic "Flesh and the Power It Holds" features some of the most brutal Richard Christy drumming to date. "Bite the Pain" has surprisingly lyrical melodies introduced with confidence and poise so that it doesn't sound out of place with the song's brutal, main chugging groove. Other than that this album is flawless, and brilliant. Even the cover of Judas Prest's "Painkiller" is pretty cool, and I frankly think that band sucks. Shuldiner's shrunken-Cobra-Command-from-Hell vocals are funny on that one. This is one of the rare albums that proves 90s American metal wasn't ALWAYS something to be frowned upon. This is one of the best metal albums ever, and it ranks up there with the best heavy metal out of Sweden in the 20th century.
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