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Asylum - Psalms Of Paralysis Award winner

Asylum
Psalms Of Pararlysis
by Gabriel “Svrtr” Zimmerman at 15 June 2017, 7:24 AM

When it comes to the topic of American made Metal, while you can certainly find  any number of genres in America one of the most common genres made here, or at least one of the first genres to come to mind, is undoubtedly Metalcore. I do realize that Floridan death metal is a big part of the shaping of death metal, but generally speaking people think to Swedish Death Metal, yet Metalcore is a far more often American product. When one looks at more southern states, we see Metalcore shift towards Deathcore, especially when looking  at more south western states ranging from areas such as Texas to Arizona. While today’s band is from Texas, they instead take a different route in death metal based genres, for today I get to present the (brutal) technical death metal band ASYLUM and their newest release, as well as first full length release, "Psalms of Paralysis" (not to be confused with at least 5 other US based Metal bands named ASYLUM, one of which is also from Texas). I will admit, I am a sucker for genres such as Technical Death Metal for its technicality, its composure and progression of riffs and beats, and after hearing them I am very much excited to begin, so without further ado let us dive right in.

The album opens with the song “Apprehensia”, and it certainly contains the buildup so many metal heads are suckers for (myself included), but as soon as the song kicks off we are treated to a plethora of sensory amazement. From amazing to guitar riffs to great beats and an overall strong progression, as well as bonus points for Colby Rodgers for some amazing gutturals and shrieks, my only real complaint would be in that the vocals seem a bit too loud compared to the instruments and drown them out a bit. It is certainly a reversal from the usual of when circumstances like this arise, where the vocals are nearly unnoticeable. However, it is certainly not an overwhelming problem, and the only thing that would be even more of a bother is how short the track is since it was incredibly well done. Following this is “Spectral Incantation”, and again this is a piece of amazement. One personal taste I have when it comes to (brutal) technical death metal is having pieces where every instrument and the vocals come together for, as the term was once coined by a friend, “Neurological overload of the purest auditory strain” in the more brutal and broader parts of the song combined with well done lead guitars that rise above the rest and becomes the sole focus. The guitars in this song encapsulates this perfectly, and as such hits a weak spot for me. However, this is far more than some personal bias, as the song is amazing and incredibly produced and performed.

My only complaint might be the inclusion of breakdowns. It is hard to include a breakdown that feels necessary and purposeful in a song, as breakdowns in the Deathcore sense tread a fine line between being well placed and used and just being thrown in there because they can. This likely can be traced to the band’s location, as as with anything environment always plays a role in how things turn out. Beyond 2 breakdowns I find the song to be undoubtedly one of my personal favorites on the album. Of course I must delve into the namesake of the album “Psalms of Paralysis”, and I am certain this song is my favorite on the album. The way it opens alone makes me love the song. It contains a much more black metal feeling and sense in the way it opens, and it contains a heavier sense of melody throughout. Overall it plays much more like technical blackened death metal, and nearly  everything from guitar riffs and solos to drum beats and progression is almost flawless. There are moments here and there that feel somewhat less, similar to a sense I feel when a breakdown  comes out that feels unnecessary, but these are few and far between. And of course, how could not one contain the amazing bass work. There is a point that approaches a bass solo, and until that point one might completely overlook the amazing work that Carlos Alonzo Gallegos does because it is so quiet, and in this I find it to be a travesty. Finally I will close with the closing track  “Neuroslave”, and this track is also certainly one that cannot be overlooked. The track perfectly creates a sense of grandiose and finality, as if watching the end of something beautiful, though after listening to the album we are. While certainly a slower song when viewed as a whole and compared to other songs on the album, this is fitting. I beg you reader, never overlook this song if you can only listen to 3 on the album.

It is here that I must close for I have already raved on and on about this masterpiece. I must admit, sometimes I hate receiving amazing albums to review because I cannot decide on what songs to include in the review and which ones to cut and it hurts to cut some of them, but back to the album itself. This is undoubtedly a masterpiece in my eyes, each song feels unique and new, and most everything feels new and innovative to varying degrees, but the point is that it does not feel recycled. ASYLUM undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of them and I cannot wait to hear more and hope that I might have the chance to see them soon.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1 - Apprehensia
2 - Spectral Incantation
3 - Psalms of Paralysis
4 - Obsidian Spine (feat. Dean Arnold of Primalfrost)
5 - Heliophobic
6 - Conjuring Fog
7 - Prefrontal Orbit
8 - Syringic Pathology
9 - Neuroslave
Lineup:
Carlos Alonzo Gallegos - Bass
McKenzie Webb - Drums
Trey Hepfer - Guitars
Jonathan Hatley - Guitars
Colby Rodgers - Vocals
Record Label: Metal Rising Records
     


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