Being best-in-class is important (cue every damn car commercial ever), but in music, sometimes being incredibly solid is just what you really need. Take Massachusetts-based death metal act Abnormality, who have refined their particular style to an incredibly sharp edge with their latest. Sociopathic Constructs works so well because it is a little bit everything without diluting itself into being nothing to no one. The intersection of technical, brutal, and deathgrind is a tough balancing act to get right, especially when you add some progressive songwriting and a dash of a playfulness not normally associated with such heavy styles. Do the band fall down or showcase some impeccable balance?
Amazingly, Abnormality’s latest is a rousing success because of that balance and a spirit of solid execution. The speed, the brutality, the riffs, and the surprising playfulness all combine to create a record defined by its dexterity. The eight songs (plus one filler interlude) are jam-packed with goodies for fans of the style, and vocalist Mallika Sundaramuthy has only improved since the band’s last outing. The vocal power and clarity are quite stunning. However, as with the best death metal records, the guitar work steals the show here. There is a lot going on beneath the surface, rewarding repeat listens. However, it’s those playful riffs, like the start to “A Seething Perversion” that elevate the album to new heights.
Ultimately, this isn’t a record that will rewrite how death metal operates in 2019; it’s not here to recalibrate what the style is capable of. However, if you’re looking for a band writing some of the most engaging, entertaining extreme metal around, Abnormality fit that bill perfectly.