Cadaver – The Age of the Offended (Nuclear Blast)Friday, 21st July 2023
One of the early purveyors in the death metal realm from the late 80’s/early 90’s out of Norway, Cadaver made an impression on this scribe through 1992’s …In Pains album. Over the past few decades, the lineups have changed (only Neddo remains as guitarist, bassist, and vocalist from those early days), as well as a name modification to Cadaver Inc. which was under investigation by the Norwegian government for being a specialized murder evidence disposal company. Back as Cadaver with the ubiquitous Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth, Kill Division, ex-Soilwork) on drums, The Age of the Offended as the sixth studio album keeps the focus on an ethereal blend of left-field, avant-garde death metal – shorter songs dripping in twisted macabre atmosphere that can go from slower crawls to thrash/death blasting proportions all within a transitional measure.
Dirk’s superior skill set gives Neddo freedom to take this material in any direction he pleases – flashing everything from thrash to death, progressive to groove metal passages to make “Postapocalyptic Grinding” and “The Sicker, The Better” stellar standouts, the transitional gear shifting in the latter mesmerizing against some organ-like, blackened chord nuances. Tribal-like aspects enter the fold for “Scum of the Earth”, Neddo executing his voice in a raspy desperation to match the speedy riffs, the effects-laden screams raising the level of intensity to the arrangement. Other songs take on more of a controlled feel, still possessing some progressive accents like the title track or the doomy “The Drowning Man” – the layers of guitars and bass setting the stage for some evil aggressive action which should command furious headbanging, the lead break for the latter especially chaotic. Favorites change by the day – the power metal, fist-waving musical hooks during their cover of TNT’s “Deadly Metal” pushed into a death metal context delightful, while the triplet drum movements against Coroner/Voivod odd-shaped chord constructs takes “Death Revealed” into a swirling cauldron of madness. Many may be surprised by TNT guitarist Ronnie Le Tekrø not just appearing on his own cover, but also delivering killer leads on many originals – while previous bassist Eilert Solstad adds his double bass vibes to “Scum of the Earth” that give that track strangeness beyond compare.
The Age of the Offended keeps Cadaver in that unique category where anything goes when it comes to what you’ll get song to song – death, black, hardcore, grindcore, progressive, psychedelic. In the end, most will enjoy the journey if insane extremity fits your aural wheelhouse.