Review by Jeff Maki
Mechanisms of Omniscience is the sophomore release from Massachusetts death metal band Abnormality. Its technical style is mixed with a backbone of crushing groove, bringing to mind Kataklysm or Cannibal Corpse. After some internal debate, I find it necessary to point out the bellowing death growls and other inhuman sounds you’ll hear on Mechanisms of Omniscience are performed by a woman—Mallika Sundaramurthy. I find this an important aspect of this review and for the band, because until this time, I had never heard a woman with death metal vocals like this. Someone could have told me beforehand that Abnormality was a side project of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and I would have listened without batting an eye.
Mechanisms of Omniscience is a lot to take in. The band has said it aims “to evolve death metal into new and unexplored territory,” and in doing this, Abnormality churns out just about every style of death metal, new and old, on this album. As razor sharp as the playing is, the unrelenting attack is a bit schizophrenic at times. The title track, and also the first video from the album, “Mechanisms of Omniscience” would be a good introduction for metalheads to know what they’re about to get into. “Irreversible,” a pummeling low-end assault of ’90s-style death metal, is one of my favorites here. The Dying Fetus-like opener “Swarm” and “Cymatic Hallucinations” are also standouts. And for those who may have read any of my reviews over the years, yes, there is a song that sounds like Morbid Angel (the middle part of the song to be precise), called “Vigilant Ignorance.” As talented and skilled musicians as the members of Abnormality may be, sometimes less is more, particularly on “Irreversible.” A powerful, industrial-tinged instrumental, “Assimilation” is also a standout toward the end of the album.
From Sundaramurthy’s inhuman vocals and the band’s ridiculously high skill level, Mechanisms of Omniscience is a showcase for Abnormality. When things came together musically and aligned, I was really into it. Extreme doesn’t even begin to describe the rest. With so many hands already played on this album, I’m interested to see where its sound evolves from here.
(Metal Blade Records, April 29, 2016)