Post Mortal Possession – Catacombs of Bedlam (Lord of the Sick Recordings)

Wednesday, 3rd June 2020
Rating: 8/10

Brutal death metal is a field that sometimes revels in the excesses. Bands attempt to be completely over-the-top and abrasive as possible, trying to get that ‘siiiiiiick’ tone that one-ups the brutality everyone else is offering at the time. But often, it’s in the bits of restraint and control that the genre can shine, something Pittsburgh’s Post Mortal Possession has been doing for a while now.

Catacombs of Bedlam is the band’s latest effort, and it continues to see them refine what they do, as well as bring in more outside influences to change things up, instead of simply trying to bludgeon the listener to death. The act is rooted in the brutal traditions of the genre, but they don’t just blindly follow the lead of others. Pulverizing grooves, such as in “Psychotropic Paradise,” will all but knock you flat on your back – but the key ingredient is that they are still memorable. That’s been a strength of the act since the beginning, and Catacombs really allows it to shine. They can come at you hard, like the more frantic closing title track, but the riffs are never throwaway. The slight technical slant, and driving tempos, still allow the band to bring in a more memorable side to the riffs. Even when they let some more slammy influences in (either with gurgle-y vocals or riffing – see “Gates of Lyssa”), there’s that attention to detail that keeps it interesting. Of course, a shorter time frame also helps, and here it lets the band really dish it all out without it becoming overbearing.

It’s surprising that given the band’s consistency and progression, Post Mortal Possession haven’t made a bigger splash within the death metal community. Catacombs of Bedlam reinforces all of the band’s strengths in diversity and songwriting flavor, while still dishing out a whole lot of brutality and aggression.

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