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Dim Mak – The Emergence of Reptilian Altars

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The Emergence of Reptilian Altars brims with tense, coiled strength. Dim Mak has traded in the slap-happy assault of 2006’s Knives of Ice for a more balanced stance. The band keeps its considerable weight high and tight here. The musicians sound light on their toes, but heavily muscled. Shaune Kelley’s guitar lines are trick-jointed; they zig where others would zag.

Much of this album is devoted to grooves, but these aren’t murky old-school slowdowns. Nor are they danceable slams. The rhythms bounce, like a boxer with his guard up. And when Dim Mak lash out with a blastbeat, they’re liable to break bones.

Longstreth deserves a great deal of credit for The Emergence’s heft. For a drummer who is frequently derided for his reliance on blasting, his playing is spacious, even economical at times. Credit is also due to new vocalist Joe Capizzi, formerly of The Dying Light. When he threatens to “breach the walls of the Pearly Gates” in “The Sounds of Carnage”, I imagine him forcing the line through clenched teeth. You can almost smell the sweat.

The Emergence of Reptilian Altars is not atmospheric music. It’s about physical force: the kind of metal record that you’d blast in the gym while banging out weight sets (as I indeed do). It’s modern death metal – clean and technical, but not “tech-death” – done right. No gimmicks, lyrical or otherwise, required.

— Doug Moore

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Dim Mak – “The Sounds Of Carnage”

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In stores November 29th

Willowtip (CD)

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