I loved Fisthammer’s 2014 album Infallible. An incredible blend of blackened and technical death metal, it’s an album I still visit surprisingly often. Why do I bring this up here? Because Sublation are the reincarnation of Fisthammer, who have returned with a new name, a stripped back lineup, and a refreshed vision for extreme metal. As such, I simply had to give The Path to Bedlam a decent airing.
I have not been disappointed.
The Path to Bedlam contains 36 minutes of brutality. Combining tech death workouts with blackened extremity into classic death metal songs that rage and burn all around them, Sublation’s material is instantly impactful. The two named influences are merely that; the main feast here is one of pure death metal meatiness, and it tastes damn good.
The songs are furious and aggressive, ranging from savage blast beats to crushing groove. Behind this simple description lies a world of extreme metal treats. The trick to Sublation’s success is their songwriting; the riffs are catchy and memorable, as are the structures that the songs pour their heaviness into. Each song has its own character, and there’s a surprising amount of diversity on offer throughout the album; The Path to Bedlam visits a few different death metal styles across its running time and does all of them justice. The band essentially take the standard death metal format, inject technical death metal and black metal influences into it, and produce high quality songs that make their mark felt in no uncertain terms.
The album is peppered with blazing solos and murderous riffs. The dark growling vocals are monstrous and grim, and the drums are brutally precise. A range of guests appear, (from bands such as Frigoris, Coffin Dust, and Release the Blackness), and the music’s production is powerful and imposing.
The Path to Bedlam is an album of classic death metal mayhem and carnage. An album to smash things to, it takes death metal’s inherent brutal energy and delivers nine songs, (plus the usual pointless intro, sadly), and destroys the opposition completely.
Characterful, brutal, well-crafted, and very enjoyable, The Path to Bedlam is a death metal album for death metal fans that like something goooooood to crunch bones with. Sublation’s first album does their legacy proud and paves the way for a brutal future.
Very highly recommended.