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Monstrosity - The Passage of Existence Award winner

The Passage of Existence
by Kayla Hutton at 03 September 2018, 3:52 AM

Formed in 1991, and part of the defined Florida death metal scene, MONSTROSITY will be releasing their first album since 2007’s “Spiritual Apocalypse”. On September 7th, 2018, Metal Blade Records will release “The Passage Of Existence”. A little history on MONSTROSITY. Lee Harrison the only original member, founded MONSTROSITY with Mark Van Erp, who was in CYNIC, alongside George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, now in CANNIBAL CORPSE, and Jon Rubin who had played guitar in MALEVOLENT CREATION. Together they released, the now classic, “Imperial Doom.” For its time the album artwork was pretty sick. The music itself was a raw brand of metal that was heavier than mainstream metal and really brought to light that there was even a death metal genre.

There were releases prior, but at the time, knowing about them was more underground than the underground itself. SUFFOCATION, BENEDICTION, GRAVE, SINISTER, ASPHYX, UNLEASHED, and MORBID ANGEL all started generating attention. For those disillusioned by METALLICA’s Black album, there had to be a more aggressive style of music out there. And there was. We were finally catching wind of the most disturbing, grotesque, and offensive music out there. And it was readily available in record stores finally. Before you had to just hope that someone would trade it in and you could find it used. And when you did it was either extremely expensive because it was harder to come by, or it was in the dollar bin because the store thought it was just crap. I’m not going to blow my age here, but I will say I was extremely young when I first got my hands on a MONSTROSITY cassette. “Imperial Doom” was frightening. It blew METALLICA, PANTERA, and MEGADETH out of the water. It was heavier, it was darker, it was strangely appealing.

“Shadows entwine domination aligns
Scorn is now cast by a hell-fire blast
Behold the sins discharging mass hate
The dead are controlled their bodies are raped” - Lyrics from “Imperial Doom

Considering that it has been 11 years since we last really heard anything new from MONSTROSITY, It really could be a toss up of what you hope vs. what you get. A name that represents an influence that is now heard in the bands that arose after they left. It’s respect for the contribution that they made to the metal genre. It also represents a grin on my face that is ear to ear as I get to hear something new and share with you guys. Let's not waste any more time. What do you think? Is it going to be an attempt to recapture what was? Is it going to be too late for a comeback? I know I’m not the only one saying “Please let this kick ass, Please let this kick ass”.

Let me ease your mind. IT'S FRIGGIN AWESOME.

It isn’t picking up where they left off, it isn’t a mediocre attempt to regain their place, nor is it too late. This is MONSTROSITY.The Passage of Existence” has a familiarity to it that is very exciting. So much time has passed, and they haven’t missed a beat. They have evolved with the times. It’s as if they never left and have still been playing, creating, just without a release to us. They are fuckng solid. Given that the first 3 tracks have been made available, in case you’ve heard them, I’m skipping them. “Maelstrom” is where I am starting out. This quickly became my favorite track from the album. Just within the first 10 seconds, you can tell MONSTROSITY has maintained their integrity. A complex start as the guitars’ artificial harmonics battle it out with some obscure drum accents. Brought in by a classic deep growl, the low keyed lyrics are semi-audible and verses ended with a mid pitch.

It’s fast and relentless, broken up with transitions that open the fretboard and demand precise striking drum pattern changes. The dueling leads intertwine with perfection mixing a harmonic overtone to theoretically impressive razor sharp leaps and bounds between a fast playing hand and an even faster-picking hand. The bass lines are not only rhythmically accurate but really grab the low end by the balls and keep it strongly in check. “Dark Matter Invocation” has a tremolo picking start that is reminiscent of black metal. Even as the kick drum rolls but the snare doesn’t blast. MONSTROSITY has always had that fine line and influence of black metal. Not enough to put them in that specific genre, but you can hear the influence. The leads are just astounding. Perfectly in sync and offering more melodic harmony. The music has definitely maintained that technical element that has set MONSTROSITY apart from the straight blast beating, grunting, wall of noise. Similar to MORBID ANGEL,PESTILENCE, CYNIC, and DEATH it’s death metal with skill. The end solo felt as if a journey were taking place and a dying world was left behind as the take over of a new world was just beginning. The held vocal in a mid-toned shrieking growl sent chills down my arms.

So far this terror-filled ride of grinding metal is proving stronger than the earth's plates shifting. “Century” was made for those kids whose first thought when they see a dead body is to poke it with a stick. This is the foundation of what drives the listener to stand up and rise with a powerful force that cannot be ignored. A darkness that shines brighter than any light. This is what true nightmares are made of. There is a groove in this track, there is a brutal driving heartbeat fueling its momentum. Stomping, crushing, and dominating. “The Passage of Existence” is what the PMRC only wishes they could ban and not just put there “Parental Advisory” sticker on. Loaded with raging death metal. Yes. Is it dark for the sake of dark? No. It’s technical, well structured, impressive, and well worth the 11-year wait.

I am happy to report that MONSTROSITY didn’t regurgitate a prior album or restructure themselves beyond recognition. They evolved with the times and improved upon the skills they have demonstrated in the past. They have grown, yet they do remain a force to be reckoned with. The audio production is modern, a proper eq was done in the mix, and the right amount of loudness was done during mastering. You can listen to it on crappy speakers, PC speakers, a cell phone, and an aftermarket car stereo. “The Passage of Existence” will sound like extreme death metal perfection on any system. And I assure you, skeptics, you will be gloriously full filled. MONSTROSITY have risen once again.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10
Overall: 10

5 Star Rating

1 .Cosmic Pandemia
2. Kingdom of Fire
3. Radiated
4. Solar Vacuum
5. The Proselygeist
6. Maelstrom
7. Eyes Upon the Abyss
8. Dark Matter Invocation
9. The Hive
10. Eternal Void
11. Century
12. Slaves to the Evermore
Lee Harrison – Drums
Mike Poggione – Bass
Mark English – Guitars
Mike Hrubovcak – Vocals
Matt Barnes – Guitars
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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Edited 23 March 2023

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