Their fifth release, Phoenix Amongst the Ashes, was recorded and produced in Rutan's own studio. You can really tell the band was focused on the task at hand. Rutan is one of the most hardest working and dedicated guys in extreme metal that you will ever see. He goes for the throat when it comes to making and producing brutal music. It’s loaded with unorthodox rhythms and odd time signatures. It’s all-out brutality, but a little more accessible than their last release, Fury & Flames.
This is some extreme brutal death metal with intense, technical and twisted riffs, fiery guitar leads, pummeling drums and some of the most venomous vocals Rutan has ever spit out. However, the vocals seem to be a little low in the mix, which is surprising since the album was produced by Rutan himself.
But if you take it as being the standard for death metal, where the vocalist utilizes their voice as an instrument within the context of the song, then you’ll have no problem with it. The guitar leads and solos rise above the overall sound like a sniper in the killing field. There’s tons of calculated melody in the guitar lines and the chord progressions as well.
The instrumental intro, “Rebirth,” serves as a precursor to the fury that awaits. The odd and twisted slow-paced riff segues into a chugging rhythm and double bass/tom pattern of the first song proper, “Haunting Abound.” It has some great chord progressions and brutal melodies.
“Art of Redemption” is a whirlwind of chaotic guitar progressions. The psychotic lead intro sounds so unnatural, but it works so well as the intro. It’s like a swarm of killer bees mixed with Jade Simonetto’s schizo drum pattern and JJ Hrubovcak’s twisted jazz fusion type bass run.
With ten tracks of furious blast beats and chaotic riffs, it’s a very exhausting listen, but also a pretty good death metal album. With the exception of the vocals being a little low in the mix, the CD as a whole does what it’s supposed to do.
(Released May 31, 2011 on Metal Blade Records)