While MONSTROSITY hasn't attained the status and commercial success of some of its Florida death metal brethren, a case can be made that they deserve it. For many, the band's name comes up anecdotally as the band formerly fronted by CANNIBAL CORPSE's Corpsegrinder. His previous involvement can't be overstated. He was a founding member, and he performed on the unit's initial, and arguably best, releases: "Imperial Doom" and "Millennium". But MONSTROSITY is so much more than a footnote in Corpsegrinder's history. MONSTROSITY is a seemingly undying powerhouse helmed by tenacious drummer, founding member and mastermind Lee Harrison. With that said, there has been an extended, decade-plus period of inactivity on the recording front—until now, that is.
The Floridian beast has just released "The Passage of Existence", its first effort since 2007's "Spiritual Apocalypse". While Harrison remains MONSTROSITY's lone original member, nearly all of his cohorts on the album have been aboard for a dozen years. The longstanding musical relationship amongst the band members is obvious, as the performance sounds more than just lockstep, as the case often is with a group of professional and seasoned musicians. There's an intangible sense of purpose and collective drive similar to how soldiers within an active platoon would interact and know one another.
Simply put, "The Passage of Existence" is classic and true death metal. There is a definite sense of sincerity and passion at hand. Stylistically, the band is unmistakably Florida death metal in spirit and sound, and while it resembles some of the group's better known peers here or there, the band doesn't mindlessly ape the ideas of anyone in particular. Aside from the obvious SLAYER worship evident on the classic debut, "Imperial Doom", MONSTROSITY continues to uniquely assemble the well-known sounds of everything from pinch harmonics to double-bass battery on "The Passage of Existence".
In stark contrast to a considerable amount of contemporary extreme metal, "The Passage of Existence" is memorable and catchy, a concept that's somehow a cardinal sin to some of the new kids on the block. The tremolo picking, the riffs, the melodic solos and vocal patterns of "Dark Matter Invocation" aren't just addictive. The manner in which everything is pieced together is indicative of MONSTROSITY's growth over time. The same can be said of the controlled sense of chaos and self-restraint practiced throughout "The Hive", a track boasting some tasteful and fluid bass work. But if it's youthful, unabashed belligerence that one craves, "Eyes Upon the Abyss" provides sufficient pummeling replete with an absolutely righteous and triumphant chorus section.
MONSTROSITY isn't likely to ever gain the recognition of some of its Floridian peers, but death metal fans should be thankful for what the band has brought to the table, including "The Passage of Existence".