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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Cardiac Arrest

Cadaverous Presence

Review by Mike Korn

Hailing from Chicago, Cardiac Arrest is proudly trying to uphold the tradition of true death metal as it was originally conceived. They realize that death metal is not about speed or cramming as many notes as possible into as short a time as possible or squealing like a pig to be extreme. These diehard fiends know that death metal is about morbid atmosphere, catchy but crushing riffs and vocals that are gross but not incomprehensible. And that's just what they have come up with on their latest platter of gore, Cadaverous Presence.

If you dig classic DM bands like Obituary, Massacre, Grave and Malevolent Creation, there's no way you'll be dissatisfied with this. Every song is super heavy but retains its own characteristics. The mixture of break-neck, doomy and mid-tempo speeds is perfect and the down-tuned guitar sound will turn your brain to guacamole. Cardiac Arrest would be a perfect match for the Razorback Records label, as one look at the cover would reveal.  Also like many of the classic bands, these guys are fascinated by horror, science fiction and just plain morbidity.

Really, Cardiac Arrest is on the top tier of American death metal bands. Grab Cadaverous Presence and feel the reaper's icy grip close on your throat!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
The Inevitable
A crushing, doomy instrumental introduces us to the ghastly world of Cadaverous Presence. The grim specter of old Swedish death metal like Grave, old Entombed and Dismember hangs over the guitar sound like a mist.
Cadaverous Presence
The pace picks up with blazing intensity here and the growling vocals of Adam Scott make their presence known.  As fast as the cut is, it never goes off the rails or dissolves into incoherency.  The lead guitar work is tasteful and melds gracefully with the brutality underneath.
You Beg For Mercy...I Beg For More
This keeps the intensity going and even increases it with a bloodthirsty tune that recalls the likes of early Deicide and Grave. Some great moshing riffs in the mid-section practically force you to headbang. Listen carefully to these tracks and you can see that they never fall prey to monotony, even though you can't call them technical.
The Process of Self-Mutilation
The relentless bloody beat down continues with this sick-sounding shredder.  This cut features the blast beating prowess of drummer Jim to full effect, while second guitarist Tom Knizner adds his own vocal torture to the mix. The track ends on a significantly slower note with some morbid doom.
What Lurks Therein
This is totally influenced by old Swedish death metal, with Grave being the predominant flavor. Actually, with its strong catchy riffs, this and songs like it could have been right off of Into the Grave or even the first Carnage album. The lyrics have a nice touch of Lovecraft to them...great stuff!
In His Name, They Spill Blood
This is is simply one of the most brutal, most massive and most sinister sounding slow-tempo death metal cuts ever written. It is like getting flattened by a steamroller and then some. It's just incredibly powerful doomy riffs mixed with bursts of ripping speed. The whole track has an unbelievable feeling of darkness to it, with Scott's grim vocals perfectly unfolding a tale of sacrifice and horror. Some of the track had an almost Egyptian/Oriental flavor to it, somewhat like Death's "Zombie Ritual." This is my favorite track and  the best pure death metal song I've heard this year.
The Atrocity Circle
More aural horror is unleashed here, in another cut that combines fast and slow elements with supreme balance. There's a sudden shift to a Celtic Frost-like chug in the middle (complete with "OOOGH!") that may make you think a different track has started, but it's just an abrupt change of gears that actually keeps your interest up.
 Lasting less than a minute, this is a nasty little blast with some of Scott's most distorted vocals, which edge close to the pig-squealing variety.
Fleshed Together
 Fast and furious, this is a pretty good death metal skull-cracker but on this album, it seems average. Except for the cool riff underneath the verses, it doesn't seem as memorable as the other cuts.
Out From the Womb...A Freak
Second only to "In His Name, They Spill Blood,"  this killer cut slams you in the gut like a 2x4. This is the way I always think of death metal...down-tuned, super-aggressive, morbid, gruesome. When performed this way, the music acts like a gateway into a universe of twisted violence and horror. This track would completely destroy live...a classic!
Make Them Die Slowly
The title refers to a notorious Italian horror flick where people were gorily consumed by a cannibal tribe. This is about the closest you can get to the movie musically. Another racing basher, this features more of Tom's raspier vocals and I suspect he did the lyrics here, too. Consider this Cardiac Arrest's tribute to underground death heroes Impetigo.
Contamination Breed
I am again reminded of early era Death with the musical approach of this cut, which crawls along with a measured stalking feel. By now, we are used to Cardiac Arrest's clever mastery of riff and tempo but it still impresses me. There's also a great ripping guitar solo. I think the lyrics are influenced by another Italian horror flick "Contamination."
Among Us
The band keeps it fairly simple here, with a mid-paced tempo and a guitar sound thicker than concrete. It's extremely grim and heavy, but not as fast as most of the other cuts. I probably would have exchanged this song's position with "Contamination Breed" myself.
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