Internecine, "Book of Lambs"
With Internecine's debut, Jared Anderson has done the incredible. Coming out of nowhere from between his stint on the road with Morbid Angel and his duties to Hate Eternal's new album, an old project has sprung into new life with a little help from Tony Laureano and Derek Roddy. What's amazing is that "Book of Lambs" kicks the living dogshit out Jared's full time band's latest release and easily puts to shame all of the recent technical death metal albums.
The key to Internecine's success it that where most technical gurus forget about the song, Jared remembers. That means that Internecine songs are slightly - and I mean slightly - less technical than, say, Hate Eternal's, but they end up saying so much more. Imagine the most creative sides of recent Immolation, Suffocation and Gorguts, add some cutting edge drumwork, tweak up the dissonance, technicality and creep factor tenfold and you'll have an idea of where 9/10's of "Book of Lambs" lies. With Tony Laureano behind the kit for most of the album and Derek Roddy filling in on the remaining tracks, the percussion is incredibly tight and manic, which fits Jared's neck-wrecking guitar work like a glove. He plays bass and sings on this as well, and unlike "King of All Kings", on "Book of Lambs," you can actually hear the bass instead of just feeling it.
Opening with "The Elder Gods," the gates are opened and the dogs of hell run rampant under flying hooks and the broken lurch of the verse riff. "Ceremonies of Deceit" is the first track to hint at Internecine's most dangerous weapon: dissonance. Most bands play with dissonance like toddlers play with blocks, but Jared's got it nailed. He uses dissonance in all it's forms to magnificent effect throughout "Book of Lambs" and make the best parts of the album. This same track also shows his compositional prowess, as he throws in dual-guitar lines, harmony riffing, melodies over chords, walking bass lines, ambient chord structures and wickedly tight breakdown. Rutan throws his two cents in with a typical, but perfectly fitting guitar solo and the song thunders to a close in fine fashion. Things slow down on "For Thee I Bleed," but "Hallowed Guidance" turns out to be the best track on here, opening with deadly dissonance and a nimble drum-n-bass break before the riffs beging flying with buzzing octave chords, open string runs and ear-bending syncopation in pure death metal fury; a stellar track, to say the least. The all-vocal, "Hymns of Sanctity" is interesting take on the traditional instrumental track most death bands feel obligated to throw in, but it's easily the weakest track and I like Kaamos' take on this idea better. But things are corrected by closing with the ultra-tech "Calling of the Hordes," a slamming tour-de-force that leaves you floored and out of breath, eyes glassed over, mouth agape and ears ringing.
Interestingly enough, Erik Rutan produced, and easily made his best sounding record to date. The mix lies at the perfect center between Hate Eternal's muddy atmosphere and Myrkskog's shrill indifference, and it's wonderful on the ears. Sharp and precise, but retaining warmth, it's a study in perfection.
So, forget Myrkskog, forget Origin, forget Hate Eternal. Internecine is every bit as fucked up and intense as the recent releases from those bands, but Jared's an old-school songwriter at heart, and that makes "Book of Lambs" stand head and shoulders above this year's technical death metal contenders.
The Elder Gods