Eyal Levi / Emil Werstler

Avalanche of Worms

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Eyal Levi and Emil Werstler are the co-lead guitarists for the technical death metal band Daath. On this instrumental disc, they're backed by bassist Kevin Scott and drummer Sean Reinert of progressive death metal legends Cynic. The result is an album that will make a certain subset of guitarists very happy, while putting most other listeners to sleep. The endless shredding solos; the songs that blend into each other; the substitution of "intriguing sonic textures" for memorable melodies or hooks…it all just adds up to a modern tribute to the Shrapnel Records catalog. As a technical achievement, Avalanche of Worms is impressive as hell; both Levi and Werstler are masters of their instruments. But they haven't yet learned how to write songs, a fact that's just as noticeable in their work with Daath. The metal scene's term for this is "riff salad," where a bunch of lightning-fast, finger-busting riffs are thrown together with no thought of compositional coherence or the listener's ability to follow along. That's exactly what happens here, as the twelve tracks blend into an endless morass of arpeggios and squeals with occasional keyboard adornments or drum breaks. When it's all over, little or nothing sticks out as memorable.

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