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Crucifixion - Paths Less Taken/Raising the Dead

Paths Less taken/Raising the Dead
by Chris Hawkins at 29 May 2019, 8:04 PM

Hailing from Houston, Texas, CRUCIFIXION played brutal American Death Metal back in the 1990s.  Forming in 1990, they released two full-lengths until their break up in 1998.  The second, “Paths Less Taken,” is being re-released with demo versions of a few of the songs and is the subject of this review.

It is immediately obvious upon first pressing play that this is over twenty years old.  “Ejercito de Malandros” kicks things off and one is instantly transported back to the days of old when Death Metal was a much more concise medium.  The guitar tone is that huge, abrasive, massively-scooped affair perpetuated and popularized by acts such as CANNIBAL CORPSE and especially SUFFOCATION.  Though this may sound primitive to ears accustomed to the cheaper availability of higher quality studio production today, individual riffs are mostly discernible.  What is impressive from the very beginning is the presence of the bass tone which is clear, punchy, and articulate, somewhat reminiscent of Alex Webster.

The third track, “Last Haunted Scriptures,” is a departure from the previous songs with a slow, doomy format.  With grand, low open chords one ca grasp how low the band is tuned – very low!  The lead work is classic, adorned with chorus and a penchant for unique melody in the vein of one Chuck Schuldiner.  The descending chords accented with cleverly-placed palm mutes open the fourth track, “Cell Block8,” with an invitation for a primal old school circle pit.  At the 1:13 mark is a crushing riff, perhaps one of the sickest on the album, that transcends into a slow, churning breakdown.  One aspect that reveals how dated the material is though is how some riffs, particularly good ones in fact, seem to be brushed over while others tend to overstay their welcome.  Feats such this are what separate the wheat from the chaff, unfortunately.

Catholicos Diabolicos,” the fifth track, showcases some impressive double bass work while the band angrily blasts away.  Unfortunately, though, it is as if there is too much going on in the guitar department making it terribly difficult to discern what is being played.  Thankfully, though, the bass is up front holding things together with its aforementioned killer tone.  The seventh track, “Resurrections of the Flesh,” contains a solid melodic groove toward the middle which sets the stage for yet another of the lead guitar’s impressive leads.  One cannot help but wonder how great the band might have been had the strong leads been married to better riffs.  Perhaps more time could have yielded true greatness.  The bottom line put bluntly is that this is a good album from a solid band from back in the day; however, aside from some moments, there is not much to separate them from the overfilled ranks of American Death Metal bands in the 1990s.

Songwriting:  6
Originality:  5
Memorability:  5
Production:  6

3 Star Rating

1. Ejercito de Malandros (Army of Thugs)
2. Sweating Buckets
3. Last Haunted Scriptures
4. Cell Block 8
5.Catholicos Diabolicos (Diabolic Catholics)
6. Tecato’s Field
7. Resurrections of the Flesh
8. Damned
9. Stealing from the Dead
10. Paths Less Taken
11. Catholicos Diabolicos (Diabolic Catholics)
12. Paths Less Taken
13. Damned
14. Weird Ressurections of the Flesh

Puppet Cavazos - Drums
Mark Vargas – Rhythm Guitar
Armando Mata – Guitar, Piano
Danny Martinez – Vocals, Bass
Noe Diaz – Guitars

Record Label: La Caverna Records


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