Condemned - A Dying Art

Long serving grinders, Condemned (not to be confused with Condemned usa) from Belfast, Northern Ireland have been going for approximately 17 years  but in that near 2 decade period have only produced 3 demos. Having underwent a few lineup changes and embraced some influences in the vein of Cephalic Carnage and Cannibal Corpse, the lads have been plugging away at it for quite a while . In this time period have played uncountable support slots on home turf and have done very well locally. One would say an album is well overdue, and with that, here it is, A dying art.

Upon first listen, it reminds me of that DIY sound of their demos which one would assume that with the release of a debut album which was highly anticipated, it seems abit of a cop out to opt with such a bad overall tone. The production is weak which really does not sell it to me on first listen though i can hear what the bands intentions are. I understand that for certain intricacy that guitar tone needs to be clean to a certain extent ala recent dying fetus offerings for sweep picking etc but here the guitar sound just is simply not heavy. it lacks crunch, bottom end and overall, Ooomph!! It just isnt there.In fact it sounds as if the gain on the amp is at zero. The bass, is non-existent, which i believe, had it have been up in the mix would have somewhat made up for  the lack of "beef" in the guitar department. The bass was at a mediocre level on previous offerings but has completely disappeared. The drumwork is pretty damn good it has to be said. There is some really interesting stuff being played but however again its marred by a "biscuit tin" snare sound which to those who read my reviews will understand is not one of my favourite things but however it could be forgiven so. I feel that the drums along with the vocals carry the album sonically.

Vocally, the album is strong witha real good balance of high and low vocals which sounds cool, though having heard the recent "Zombified" demo( Vocalist side project), the vocals are much stronger on it and thus leave me wondering what happened here. Thats the production aside. Musically the album is pretty cool drawing alot from the aforementioned influences. I must say they do the whole Cannibal Corpse sounding parts excellent with excellent galloping section and these are what get the listener headbanging. What does annoy me is the fact that some riffs dont give the listener time to get into the riff which then proceeds to stop start stop start which just disrupts the whole groove and thats what leaves me disjointed. One might assume this is the mathcore influences. Some will like this but im a sucker for a damn good heavy groovin` riff which the lads are capable off, they just only do it for 2 seconds at a time. The whole stop starty thing is wasted on me. I believe Condemned sound at their best when the play somewhat more linear. This can be heard on, the best tracks on the album, "My blood runs black", "A Dying Art" and "The body in the box", the latter being my favourite. These 3 tracks are 3 quality songs which i would like to hear live which Condemned are at their best. Included on the album are 2 tracks from the last demo, "....And thats how i found them" which to be honest i would have left out becuase i dont believe them to be strong tracks. I would have opted for "Enter the boneyard" from their 2nd demo, "Somebody Stop". Its not all bad as the album does make for an interesting listen but however let down by a god awful production and would have done well to go to a proper studio to harness a full on heavy sound but the album is let down by the weak tones/DIY approach on the cd.

1. The Dark Place
2. Everybody Died Last Night
3. My Blood Runs Black
4. Here Come My Eyes
5. A Dying Art
6. Almost Cannibal
7. Every Last Cruelty
8. The Body In The Box
9. Death Followed...
10. Leave Me Alone (Or Ill Kill Again)
Underground Movement
Reviewer: Connor
Jan 26, 2011

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