Severance

What Lies Ahead

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When a band's been around for over a decade with little to show for it, putting the blame on misfortune, shaky lineups, and other non-musical forces usually doesn't hold water. But in the case of Texas-based Severance, whose belated second album, What Lies Ahead, arrived 12 years into the group's career, one almost feels compelled to give the bandmembers the benefit of the doubt because of their impressive technical skills. Yet, in most every other respect, this is a rather ordinary death metal album. Song after song steamrolls past the listener with little variety, creativity, or finesse to distinguish it from the last -- all the while, their oppressive riffs grate on the ears like a power drill as vocalist Joe Vasquez howls his brains out about God knows what. This one's for tolerant, fanatic deathsters only.

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