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Many times, output coming from extreme music circles seems like an endless competition to out harsh one another, from one band to the next. While there's no denying that boundaries have been erased and redefined through this cycle, it could also be said that semblence of song has suffered for it and a measure of individuality been lost. Thankfully, there remain bands like Balatonizer setting new standards of quality for all to follow. Their new album Occlused In Ottusity is amongst the best of its kind. While Balatonizer certainly unleash liberal doses of bulldozing blastbeat blitzkrieg throughout Occlused In Ottusity, their brand of grind is a little more diverse than just that. Perhaps due to their death metal influences, these guys seemingly put as much emphasis on quality of riff as they do on blinding, violent fury. The result is a listen that stays with you long after the average grindcore encounter blurs into the distance. It's a real best of both worlds experience, at times exhibiting true dynamic grasp and variance--a trait sadly absent more often than not within this realm of metal. With thrity-two songs clocking in at just a bit over twenty-five minutes, it doesn't seem feasible that Occlused In Ottusity would give you time to truly connect with any of its tracks. Still, to the contrary, standouts are very pronounced amongst this field. On "Sbigottit," Balatonizer keep the blasting in check long enough to lock into steady pulverize mode. An underlaid synth sample adds gothic flourish to "Reborn In Ignorance," while robotic, blippy lead interjections jump off the speakers like Darth Vader kicking the piss out of R2-D2 during "Microscopic Brain." Ultimately, the title track proves this disc's crown jewel. With fantastic stop/start riffage, Balatonizer's utilization of silence here shows great songwriting maturity and discipline, actually boosting the heaviness quotient significantly. These subtle flourishes help raise Occlused In Ottusity several notches above the efforts put forth by many of Balatonizer's contemporaries. This is a non-stop torrent of frightening brutality and oomph, with enough meat to keep things rooted and memorable. Easily one of the best slabs of grind to ever cross this desk. Extremely recommended.

By Dan
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