November 11, 2005 | | 4

Paths of Possession, Promises in Blood

We’re going to try something a little different with the reviews going forward. This format may stick or it may get thrown in the trash quickly. At any rate, the goal is to provide a brief synopsis of the album, then break it down track by track and end with a bit of a wrap up. It’s pretty formulaic I know, but I think it might be interesting.

With a name like Paths of Possession, and one glance at the album art, you’d expect to hear some anti-Christianity rhetoric, references to dark lords, and talk of the all consuming fires of hell—and that’s exactly what you get. The band features Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher as lead vocalist with their latest release. Now, I’ve always been partial to the Chris Barnes era Cannibal Corpse, but have had plenty of respect for what Corpsegrinder has done in the industry and since taking over the lead in the legendary band. I can honestly say that, after listening to this album, my respect for the man has increased ten fold. Having initially thought of Corpsegrinder as one dimensional in his delivery, he bitch slaps me, and those critics of like mind, with his range and versatility on this album

Track 1: Darklands. The opening track on this album took me quite by surprise. I was expecting to hear some Deicide-like riffs and deep growls from the Corpsegrinder. Instead, I was greeted with early an In Flames melodic riff straight from the get go. And then the lead singer starts in. There’s no way that this was George Fisher. I actually had to double check the liner notes and head on-line to verify that it was in fact him. He comes out on this first song with a mid-range growl and hits some impressive higher range screams—maintaining them to completion without cracking or fading. It was definitely quite an impressive and surprising opening.

Track 2: The Butchers Bargain. Now THIS is what I was expecting from this album—dark riffs, death metal drum beats, and Corpsegrinders lower end growls and screams. The impressive thing is that each word is easily discernable, whereas most of Fisher’s Cannibal Corpse vocal delivery is hard to understand what is being sung unless you have the lyrics in front of you. This song drives hard and rarely lets up.

Track 3: Bleed The Meek. This song starts off with a very similar melodic riff to the album’s opening track. There is definitely some In Flames inspiration evident on this release. With that melody and Fisher’s mid-range delivery this song has great momentum and groove. This song should easily be a fan’s favorite.

Track 4: The Second Coming. Yet another song with a great groove. This track has a great solo that’s got a bit of a rock feel to it. Nice low end growls on Fisher’s part keep this otherwise mid tempo song dark and evil.

Track 5: Where The Empty Gods Lie. A Slayer like riff opens up this track straight into some driving drumming, by Nick Goodyear, and chugging guitar. This is one of the more up tempo tracks. It still has this melodic structure under it. This song also has a catchy enough chorus that will have you growling along with it. The backing vocals are a bit higher range and compliment Fisher’s lower delivery very well.

Track 6: A Heart For A Heart. Fisher displays some higher notes on this track than in the previous five. His ability to shift gears from highs to lows so smoothly and quickly will have Cannibal Corpse fans amazed. He continues to impress with his range and cleaner delivery.

Track 7: In My Eyes. Another quick paced track. I’m definitely liking the change in speeds on this album. The guitar work and drums on this track are excellent. Fisher hits some of his higher notes in a couple screams here as well.

Track 8: Erzebet. Ah, the obligatory death metal instrumental. I was wondering when it was going to show up. The band makes sure to keep this one short (it’s the shortest track on the album at 2:45), and do a decent enough job not losing too much of the momentum that “In My Eyes” had going. The end of the instrumental has a decent riff that would have lead better into the following track if it wasn’t for the few seconds of silence between the two.

Track 9: Promises In Blood. The album’s title track fills in after the instrumental with plenty of malevolence. The listener will find some classic death metal drums pounding on this song. Excellent track!

Track 10: Bring Me The Head Of Christ. This track starts off strong and keeps steady through till the end. This is one of the darker songs on the album, both in terms of lyrical content and overall sound. Again, Fisher hits some great range in his screams.

Track 11: Through The Fiery Halls. After a few pounding tracks, the more melodic guitar works shows up again, providing a great song structure.

Track 12: The Icy Flow Of Death. This track starts off slow and brooding, then hits a quickened beat and then slows to a crawl again. Overall, it’s one of the slower and darker tracks on the album. It’s got a few sections in it that are also some of the quickest on the album, but they are short lived. Fisher’s slow paced delivery is accompanied with some higher range screams.

I’ve got to say, that not only was this a thoroughly enjoyable album, but I’m mightily impressed that Fisher put himself out on a limb like this. He stood up to the challenge of the vocal range that this album demanded and stomped a mud hole in it’s ass. The melodic structure throughout the album was a nice surprise as well. Combine that base of sound with Corpsegrinder’s delivery and you have yourself a must have. While this album is far from a classic (it really doesn’t deliver anything we haven’t seen yet), it’s definitely an album any fan of death metal and George Fisher should have in their stable.

Favorite Tracks:
The Butchers Bargain
Bleed the Meek
A Hear for A Heart
Promises in Blood

Additional Notes: