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Review: Exaltation - Tales of Total Sickness
Tales of Total Sickness

Label: Sevared Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 28:59
Tracks: 8
Genre: Death Metal


Review online: October 18, 2010
Reviewed by: Memnarch
Readers' Rating
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Rated 2.33/5 (46.67%) (6 Votes)

The first full-length from German quartet Exaltation, titled Tales of Total Sickness is the follow up to their demo similarly titled Tales of Mental Sickness. This is my first experience with the band, and with song titles such as "Beaten, Butchered, Brutalized" I think it's safe to say what type of music I'm in for.

In short, the most accurate summary would be 'unrelenting blast beats', and upon initial listens it seems pretty hard to get past the incessant blasting. I'm being totally serious when I'm hazarding a guess that of the twenty-nine minutes of this release, twenty-five of those consist of nothing but blast beats. The only time there's any respite from the unmerciful hellish blast beats are the occasional breakdowns in the middle of some of the songs where it's more of a slow pattern. It's on the rare occasion that when the foot is taken off the gas that the album is actually fairly promising, the breakdowns have a decent groove to them and you'll find that surprisingly enough, there are actually other instruments on this release besides the drums. The guitar, when I can hear it beyond the excessively loud drumming, is fast, typical death metal riffing. It's tight and rapid and surprisingly well played. I also think I can just about hear a bit of bass in there at times, or that could just be me imagining things again. Who knows, it genuinely is impossible most of the time to distinguish what's going on beyond the drumming. The vocals are your average brutal death metal guttural, never ever changing pitch, nothing really remarkable about them. They achieve what they're set out to, and that's about it.

I can't help but think the band have tried to use the drumming as a selling point of their album, and as a result have succeeding in completely choking out the rest of the band who seem to be pretty decent at what they do. Yes, we get that you've finally figured out how to blast beat, but that doesn't make you in any way good, you've just ruined what could have otherwise been a listenable release.

I prefer my death metal with sincerity and atmosphere, so-called 'Brutal' death metal such as this just comes across as sterile and a bit of a gimmick to be honest. If you want death metal drumming done well, take a leaf out of Autopsy or Impetigo's book. They know what they're doing, and how to mix things up a bit.

As it is, this is just another one of those ten-a-penny 'brutal as can be' bands, and they're all interchangeable. If that's really your thing though, and you don't mind drumming which is not just off the Richter scale, but fucks the whole thing up completely, then give it a go. As for me? Filed under 'Must Try Harder'. Tales of Total Sickness? Tales of Total Blandness would be more fitting.

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