Floridian death metallers Killing Addiction have been together since '90 and put a slew of records from '91-'98 which I haven't actually heard, unfortunately. One of these was a full-length by the name of Omega Factor back in '93 and that scored a rather decent 70% on Metal Archives. The second release came much later, when the band reformed over a decade later with Fall Of The Archetypes. The score for that one is a tad lower at 68%. Another EP by the name of When Death Becomes An Art was released just a few years ago (2014) with this one of course having been released just last year. The record actually released in October, but I don't think it ended up on anyone's radar. That might be for the unfortunate fact that I kind of found the disc sort of, “ho-hum.” I mean, it's not a terrible death metal disc by any means, but it isn't anything that reall caught my interest, up until the arrival of “Into Shadow” which brought on an almost sort of depression-heavy doom. It's not that I didn't like the outrageous solo performances performed by Chris Wicklein, or the chucky bass grooves offered up by Patrick Bailey. It just felt to me as if the vocal end was a bit lacking. That could all be in production really, as it feels like Bailey's been drowned out in places by detriment of his own damn riffs. There's just something missing with this album and it doesn't kick like it should. Chris York goes to town on the kit a couple of times throughout the listen as well, making for what should really be a great recording. But everything here seems a bit too warm for it's own good. As I said, the vocals are severely drowned out, despite the fact that tracks like “Extinction Agenda” are pretty punchy in the mix and should be all-around headbangers. Do these guys sound better live, I wonder? There just seems to be a sapped energy here, something missing that I wish the band would discover. When I'm sent these discs, I give an honest opinion and that's what I feel I'm giving here. Maybe not the positive review that the band and label might be hoping for, but the honest truth.
I've listened to this EP (it's quite short) again and again and again, as I try to figure out why it's not as engaging as I think it should be. I really do feel that production could be the issue here as there's just so much to be said in the way that a song is produced, period. The drums might actually need to come a little more in the mix, believe it or not. Sometimes Bailey's vocal even drowns out a couple of riffs. I understand that it's impossible to get a perfect mix, but either there's too much fuzz and warmth here or these gentlemen aren't all that good to begin with. They've stood the test of time for many years, but this effort really didn't strike me in the way that I would have wanted it to, which is unfortunate. Regardless of that, check out Shores Of Oblivion if you're interested in a shade of classic death metal with a warmer production value and some intriguing solo work.
(4 Tracks, 14:00)