Monday, December 19, 2011

Natrium - Elegy For The Flesh

I was getting annoyed with scoring albums last night, and I was thinking of a solution to my recurring indecision. Thus I will be converting everything over to the 0.25 scale because it's significantly easier to dole out scores and there's enough variance for me to get my point across. Like anyone who spends time writing reviews, I would like the words to be the focal point of each post, but I know how many people just read the score and download, so I'm making the change on all the past reviews as well. The change will keep things more organized so it's probably for the better. I promise this will be the last change I make to the scoring system (yeah, right).

Italy's Natrium has apparently been around since the early 2000s. That comes as a big surprise to me considering they only have two full-lengths. Their first album The Day Of Pain has a hilariously inane and amateurish album cover, with it's Microsoft WordArt logo and shitty photoshop fire effects layered on top of some engraving. Their 2011 album Elegy For The Flesh has a much more professional if still computer-edited album cover done by the (in)famous Pรคr Olafsson. Recently he's garnered a lot of hate due to "a lack of variety" in his style. Whatever, I think it still looks cool and fits the mechanized, technical element of Natrium's brutal death metal.

If I had to describe Natrium in a few words, it would be Severed Savior in Italy. Elegy For The Flesh isn't your typical "no balls, all wank" brutal techdeath album either and on first listen I honestly felt like a good chunk of the songwriting borrowed from slam death. Every riff feels meaty and dense, and although the guitar tone has that sterile "dryness" to it, the songs still feel brutal, much in the same way songs like "Sphacelated Nerves" by Abominable Putridity manage to. I guess that wasn't the most apt comparison, but you get what I'm trying to say. The guitar tone sucks, but it doesn't detract from the brutality of the music. All of the songs on Elegy For The Flesh tend to play on the lower register anyway, and the majority of them top out at mid-pace. This makes the faster tracks like "Ravenous Theophagists" and my album favorite, "Allograft Harvesting," stand out that much more.

Natrium explores a wide range of time signatures and interesting rhythms on the album, often using triplets to their advantage. There are a few solos as well, which usually don't reach flamboyancy and often are a backdrop to the drums and bass. This is totally fine by me, because we all know how fucking annoying Necrophagist is. That doesn't mean the solos aren't technical either. "Breastfed With Mendacity" basically ends on a riff explored during the solo, which is an interesting touch. I applaud Natrium's attempt at being original in a genre plagued with copycats, and there are some interesting ideas behind forging a rhythmically-driven technical brutal death metal band, but they could definitely polish up the songwriting a bit and fix that disgusting guitar tone. Otherwise a solid release.

7.0 out of 10


1. Elegy for the Flesh

2. Memetic Infection

3. Breastfed with Mendacity

4. Sarin Benison

5. Ravenous Theophaghists

6. Allograft Harvesting

7. Clinical Savagery

8. Plastinated Birth

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