Rise to Power

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There is very little earth left to be scorched on Planet Death Metal, and here comes Monstrosity, wielding a big ol' torch. Rise to Power, the group's fourth full-length studio shard, shows that the group still doesn't break out of the third tier of Floridian-via-New York City-style baby-eaters (see also: Malevolent Creation, Mortician, Immolation, Fleshcrawl, etc.), stringing together a bunch of musically competent, third-generation, ripped-off Morbid Angel-via-Slayer-while-sleeping-with-Suffocation riffs, peppered with clackity-typewriter double-bass drums and vocals from Glen Benton's evil second cousin's former roommate, thrice removed. Lyrically tired and musically derivative, Monstrosity (known only for being the original outfit of George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, who became lead throat for Cannibal Corpse) remains firmly rooted in the early-1990s meat-and-potatoes death metal ethic, eyes not locked on the genre's future like Nile or Absu, or on memorable songwriting (see the unoriginal, yet thoroughly enjoyable Vader). Only the clich├ęd classical guitar instrumental "The Fall of Eden" (of course) offers a reprieve from the barrage of lickety-split tempo changes and vague notions of melody (yawn), the album concluding with "Shadow of Obliteration," and a lengthy flurry of masturbatory Jeff Hanneman/Kerry King dive-bombing guitar wails. Aficionados should be increasingly cynical about such by-the-numbers death metal when it's fairly proficient but dull as rocks; here, Monstrosity attempts to scorch already blackened, barren ground, with no lighter fluid or original ideas in its possession. Futile, isn't it?

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