Review: Sarsekim “Paroxysm” CD

As the cheesy logo would suggest this Australian act is of course a death metal band, but it's actual a pretty damn solid little two-track demo of the more technical and involved brand of death metal that I enjoy. "With Absence of Warning" offers a pretty good blend of tempos and shifts between dissonant chord phrasings and snarling vocal growls for an aggressive yet curiously melodic (if not a bit typical) stance, but the lead break is fuckin' awesome - the first real sign of the true potential that this band boasts. "The Fall of Zedekiah" then follows with a massive eight-minute running time that opens with a nice and thrashy slab of dual guitar interaction that leads to a more flurried set of riffs before kind of shifting back and forth and repeating a bit much for its length; but again the lead breaks are quite impressive, and the way the second solo burst is layered over a weird clean break is kind of cool. The buildup at the end of the track is pretty slick though, and I like how they flirt with a few black metal influences there. The recording is pretty damn good for a demo, too. It's nice and clear and for the most part I think they've done a good job. Despite the fact that the vocals actually sound great, I'd suggest blending them in with the music and trying to thicken up the guitars with a warmer brand of distortion, because right now with the crispness of the mix comes a little bit of a hollow sound. The rhythm section also sounds pretty close to the mark, but something's missing and I can't quite place it. Basically I just think they need to beef things up a little and get a warmer and more natural sense of depth happening. The CD-R comes in a slim jewel case with a color insert that includes lyrics and looks fairly professional overall. Some of the content that leans towards a supernatural angle does nothing for me, but overall I'd say the lyrics are a little better than average for death metal I guess: "Vengeance cast by an unforgiving sun, Solely sheltered by the vulture's span, My struggle for survival now competes with theirs, Who will be the last to stand?" I'd definitely like to hear more from this band in the future as I imagine a natural progression over time will yield impressive results. The songwriting's not consistently powerful as it stands since some of the riffs aren't all that memorable and there are of course some rough patches, but these guys could definitely have what it takes to turn some heads if they keep at it. Not bad.

Running time - 12:47, Tracks: 2
[Notable tracks: both have some promising moments]
Sarsekim -