Near Death Condition [Switzerland]
Evolving Towards Extinction
Unique Leader Records
Already in their third full length album of their career, it is pretty surprising that Swiss death metal merchants Near Death Condition have not gotten the recognition that they deserve, amidst the many mediocre technical or brutal death metal releases of late. Evolving Towards Extinction is their latest release, and with a whole range of influences and sounds promised by the band, it got me extremely excited to finally get a taste of Near Death Condition‘s material.
Album opener Words of Wisdom hits the listener hard, and unlike the usual brutality that most are now accustomed to, Near Death Condition instead fuses the crushing style of bands such as Deeds of Flesh with its penchant for blasting and the dissonance and avant-garde (or experimentation?) of Gorguts and Ulcerate. Things only start to sound more normal on Between the Dying and the Dead onwards, if one could consider brutal death metal normal, and the technicality of guitarist Stephane and Patrick along with the relentless blast beats of Guido Wyss see the band bringing in some Suffocation and Dying Fetus influences into their sound.
But if one were to think that Near Death Condition is just gonna be another Suffocation or Deeds of Flesh from Between the Dying and the Dead onwards, one could not be more mistaken. Pandemic of Ignorance sees the band showing their quirky side once again, with the extremely slow pace that the track starts with before letting all hell break loose with little warning. Praise the Lord of Negation again brings in the dissonant style, and one can’t help but also think of Nader Sadek on such instances.
However, what sets the band apart is Near Death Condition‘s rather generous usage of synths and keyboards on Evolving Towards Extinction to create a nice, haunting backdrop below the crushingly intense and chaotic death metal. Songs like Intelligent Design for instance see the band even incorporating a choir effect, making the album even darker than it already is.
Furthermore, the duelling leads of Patrick and Stephane on tracks like Pandemic of Ignorance brings in some semblance of melody, resulting in Near Death Condition‘s latest effort being a perfect balance of brutality, melody and weirdness.