For those that don’t know Calcined is scientific in origin and basically means the remains of something left behind after it has been completely and utterly burned, which is different to ash, as ash can still be burned given the right conditions (chemistry lesson over). You’ve probably already guessed what this band is going to be like and you’d be right of course as this band hails from Switzerland and hits the globe with a debut of pulverising death metal with varying vocal styles equivalent to forcing your digestive system up and out through your nose. Surprisingly the music is extremely catchy and splattered with trademark leads from the Slayer book of high speed licks and blisteringly fast solos.
Inescapable however is the fact that this is indeed a debut as the song flow is quite clumsy due to abrupt changes of tempo which is fine but needs the necessary sonic cement to hold it all together. Opening with “Funeral Passage” the bands slamming deathliness is catchy with decent riffs and plenty of breakdowns for the modern death metal fan to think they like it enough. However this is death metal but on the brutal end of the genre as “Inner Abyss (The Imperfect Birth Part 1)” begins with a half blast like Suffocation , pummelling the listener with borderline double kick blasting that does render those sections rather chaotic and unfocused. The opening riff to “Gasoline And Smoked Bones” is immense complete with skull shattering cymbal work and a juggernaut explosion of double kick and sporadic machine gun blasting snare work splashing aural napalm in all directions.
I did prefer the songs in the latter half of this release as they’re written with far more cohesiveness, such as “Yggr, The Mountain” with its nail gun spitting snare and chaotically dangerous riffing that threatens to fall into oblivion but is caught at the last moment by deploying good dynamics that keep the tune balanced very finely between pandemonium and accessibility. The sludgy double bass section is excellent, as the tune delves menacingly into a doom death section momentarily that battles with the speed elements in a stalemate battle. “Neurotic Murder” is bruising where seismic double kick is peppered with snare blasting but also the low tone guitar work and bass that rumbles like a rankled beast awaken from deep slumber. The fluctuations in speed are excellent here, ensuring the rabid outbursts are tempered by slow more crushing components that quite often utilise a slam riff here and there to good effect. Closing the album is the second part of “The Imperfect Birth” which is subtitled “Powerless” and starts with what I would call a zombie groan with sound effects before shifting into a slower much more melodic riff that contrasts with the first part. The screech vocal wail is then bolstered by a warlike double bass assault and lateral increase in speed. The pace changes in this are well executed creating urgency and a sense of hatred especially with the grisly riffing that is heavy but also spattered with some lighter hooks. The drumming here is very fluid, veering from one speed to another but holding the tune together like that aural cement I mentioned earlier.
As a debut this Swiss band has hit the spot extremely well as the release reeks of brutality and has the stench of rotted virulency coursing through it.
(7/10 Martin Harris)