By Jonathan Smith
Sectioned’s debut album is a cut of organic death metal that trudges along like a city-stomping beast from a Japanese monster movie. Originally put together by Zoltan Valter, the band brings together musical connections from the United States, Hungary, and England. Its retro sound and imagery bring to mind the violent vibe of classic death metal mixed with drive-in horror, but while still possessing a self-awareness that betrays its contemporariness. Like the fantastical creature in the above analogy, Purulent Reality is best compared to an unstoppable force that can take a great deal of abuse, simply shedding off its damaged layers while continuing the charge. The album makes no apologies about the fact that it demands to be played from start to finish and allowed to burn itself out. It’s well-suited for a vinyl release. When Purulent Reality hits its stride, it really grabs your attention. While it doesn’t always manage to do this, more often than not the album works.
Aside from the rigid rhythm backbone, Sectioned’s incessant drums propel the listener along at a consistently crushing pace. The fancy lead guitar work is merely the icing on a cake that, truth be told, doesn’t necessary need it (though it certainly doesn’t hurt either). Peter Maniak’s vocals range from deep death growls to strained rasps, taking a backseat to the riff-centric focus. He often manages to sound as though he’s needing to catch his breath while struggling to keep pace with the music. Whether this is intentional or not, it works fairly well here. It’s only in the last gasping moments of the closing title track that things slow down, exchanging never-ending crunch for some ringing guitar tones and isolated drums. For the most part, Purulent Reality is a strong first offering and is sure to appeal to death metal fans who’ve been around long enough to recognize its influences and to newer fans who are schooled enough to appreciate it.