Hacked to Perfection the debut album from US death metallers Never to Arise is an ugly, twisted, and misshapen brute of a release and rather special because of it. Spiteful, violent, and openly brutal the album is also a fine example of musicianship and inventive thought within the core death metal sound which many bands have seemingly turned away from. There is a purity to it that brings forth the grounding seeds of the genre infused with a skill and enterprise that makes it all the more intimidating and consuming.
Florida band Never to Arise comprises of duo Gordon Denhart (vocals, guitar, drum programming) and Michael Kilborn (guitar, bass). Together they have created an album which festers and menaces somewhere between melodic death metal and the original genre sound. It is a rampaging and venomous release which leaves one without an escape route as its crushing and invasive sounds swarm through the ear and over the senses. Released may 15th via Colorado label badGod Music the album is a definite to fire up those who prefer the pure genre sound but with some innovation and imagination.
The opening track The Femicidal Impulse barges through the ear with repetitive beats and eager riffs behind a striking guitar surge. The song soon settles down into a pattern as Denhart brings guttural spewing as black and venomous as heard anywhere. The track slowly turns and winds tighter around the ear with harsh melodic probing and a bestial stalking bass behind. As a warmish groove lights up the corners of the song it evolves further into a sprawling yet controlled assault. It is unpredictable, persistently intriguing and a great start to the release.
The following Hyperbaric Torture Chamber and Sloppy Surgery continue the crumbling of defences with their compulsive but violent intensity, the first a thrash lined invasion and the second a maelstrom of ruptured melodies and vindictive riffs. Though still a raging destructive track Sloppy Surgery is a constantly twisting song which is as agitated as it is vehement.
Easily the best track on the album is Mutilation Supreme, as good as the others are this one probes and pervades every sinew and cell with its inventive thought and catchy lures. The artistry and skill of Denhart and Kilborn thrust their imagination deeper through the ear whilst one eagerly welcomes its impressive groove driven caustic and infectious manipulations. It offers the most satisfying violation on the release to place it ahead of the other very agreeable tracks on Hacked to Perfection such as the likes of the dehabilitating Bereft Of Conscience, the sonically splicing Snuff Film Superstar, and the ravenous Devoured By Wolves which claws at the ear with full-blooded intensity, add a persistent and gratifying provocative and strenuous demand of the senses.
Hacked to Perfection is a genuinely inspiring release even though it did not truly fire up the emotions as often as one expected from the initial engagement. The main reason is down to the production which on a personal level felt over claustrophobic and weighty never allowing the obvious and striking creativity and imagination within the songs the clearest of views and stifling the veracious quality. The programmed drums too though not a major issue as they worked very well most of the time did give a repetitive element which drew the attention at times. The album is still a very impressive release and sure to find enthused waves of acclaim and deserved attention, as well as instigating an eager anticipation from all for more from Never to Arise.