Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kraanium - Post Mortal Coital Fixation (2012)

I have a tendency to associate Norwegian death metal with the more amorphous, dissonant and unusual acts like Obliteration or the cult favorites Molested, but Kraanium are playing with a decidedly US appeal to their slam-oriented misogynistic brutality, and doing a fine job of it. The group's second album, The Art of Female Sodomy flew in one of my ears and back out the other, but I recall getting some enjoyment out of their 2008 debut Ten Acts of Sickening Perversity. Now, in the near past, I seem to have generated some antipathy over the fact that I don't focus in on a lot of releases in this particularly niche, that I specifically dislike this sound, but nothing could be further from the truth. I've listened to and continue to listen to death metal in ALL its incarnations since the damned genre started (hell, before it started). The caveat is that I hold it even its most brutal, masochistic artisans to the same standards I would hold almost anything: the necessity for solid songwriting, engaging rhythmic variation and consistent value. Extremity for extremity's sake is not all that interesting to me if I can't remember it 15 minutes later.

The reason I bring this up is because Post Mortal Coital Fixation brings all three of these things to the table, and it's an enjoyable slugfest that should appeal to fans of slam gods like Dying Fetus or Devourment with ease. The Norwegians build this enormous tone to the guitars which curries a rich, old school depth despite the fact that it's constantly being used as a catalyst for as much moshing as possible, conjoined to loads of squeals and thundering double bass action that strikes just as closely to the gut as the incessant, bouncing grooves of tracks like "Stillborn Neurotic Fuck Fest" and "Baptized in Boiling Sewage". Yet Kraanium definitely has a faster, meaner streak to it which is incorporate among a lot of the slower pit dynamics. A lot of the cuts have blasted sections like "Orgy of Cannibalistic Fornication" and "Compulsive Mutilation Disorder", even if they're not immensely accelerated; and they definitely give the drummer free reign to hammer out loads of fills above the more predictable rock grooves. The bowel rupturing bass tone is also to be lauded, so copious that I don't recommend listening on an upset stomach, and though Martin Funderdud's vocals might not stand out as significantly unique for the genre, but they deliver their gruesome deeds with admirable, guttural enunciation. In particular, I dig his sustained notes which sound like some taxed air filter on a stagnant fish tank.

Post Mortal Coital Fixation is not exceptionally unique or creative, and a lot of its appreciation will hinge on just how much the audience still loves their grisly gore and sample-driven carnage. Personally, I found it fun to just sit back and let my conscience lay into the huge, meat fisted grooves that the band uses as a slamming substrate. Could they offer more variation than you find on this disc? Certainly. Are they capable of more atmosphere? I would say so. Hell, just listen to the resonant growl and frightful ambiance set to the female screaming at the intro to "Orgy of Cannibalistic Fornication" and just imagine how SICK an album like this would be with more instances of such woven through the perverse pummeling. That said, Kraanium has done a good job in arranging 35 minutes of intestinal revulsion, and to top it all off they include a cover of "Entrails Full of Vermin" from Russian slam butchers Abominable Putridity (from their debut In the End of Human Existence), likely to impress a few fans with a broader appreciation for the style (though I've got no real recollection of the original). Post Mortal Coital Fixation should prove worthwhile for any wannabe necrophiliac, mutilation addict or mosh baron out there, but it's pretty fun for the rest of us too.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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