The Perdition of the Sublime (2012)
Germany, Willowtip Records, Technical Death Metal
Although *noun* followed by -cide is a fairly common moniker in the death metal world, Sophicide, meaning the death of knowledge or wisdom, is refreshingly thoughtful. And what of the album title? Perdition being synonymous with damnation, and the sublime being of something supreme and lofty. So here we have eternal torture of something that would be awe inspiring or elevated? That’s quite a bold statement, coming from the death of wisdom.
And Sophicide does not disappoint.
Perdition of the Sublime embodies the Necrophagist school of neoclassical high-brow death metal, and does so in a masterfully complex yet memorable manner. There are pace changes aplenty, but the songs are never disorienting – quite the opposite, as dynamic song structures and a light melodic splash define Perdition. Intrigued? What if I told you that the project operates as a two piece, and began with only vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Adam Laszlo? Of course, that isn’t to discredit the head-turning technicality and perfectly executed neoclassicism of guitarist Sebastian Bracht.
Laszlo’s vocals are ominous and menacing, organic yet ecclesiastical, spirited yet from beyond the grave – he strikes a balance between the old school spiritual death metal of yesteryear and modern brutal technical death metal. I am reminded at times of Mikael Akerfeldt’s performance on the most recent Bloodbath album.
And the leads. Yeah, we are talking about death metal, technical death metal at that, so guitar acrobatics are to be expected. But Sebastian Bracht’s fretwork is, well, sublime, in that aforementioned supreme and lofty sense. He is in the top tier in a subgenre where every six-stringer tries to outdo his neighbor, matching Christian Muenzner’s infinitesimal intricacy. If you are interested in letting your jaw hit the floor, check out the album’s title track. Other highlights include the barely restrained math tornado on “Of Lust and Vengeance,” and the precise, slashing riffs of “Freedom of Mind.”
Bracht’s technical fireworks are astonishing, but so are his neoclassical moments. The 81-second “Folie A Deux” is possibly the most genuine and effective acoustic interlude I can think of, and should be an example to all the mediocre metalcore hacks out there trying to impersonate the best. Or, observe the Eastern melodies introduced through the classical plucking on “Of Lust and Vengeance.”
In conclusion, The Perdition of the Sublime is an example of everything right in modern technical death metal. Precise, neoclassical, brutal, slightly melodic, and all awesome, Sophicide’s debut full-length should not be missed by any fans of extreme metal. The Perdition of the Sublime is an apt title indeed.
Author: Witness to the Void