Recollections Of The Insane

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Divine Immolation
02. Cranial Disintegration
03. Sea of Sorrow
04. Monolith
05. Onwards to Fire
06. Souls of Retribution
07. Inside the Walls of Madness
08. Fall of the Damned
09. Stratified Realities

The furious midpoint between primitive death metal and caustic thrash has always been one of the most exciting places to bang your head. The full-length follow-up to 2020's utterly murderous "Voices" EP, "Recollections of the Insane" confirms that Belgium's SCHIZOPHRENIA are flying the death / thrash flag with venomous pride, and doing it with more ferocity and conviction than most.

This is well-trodden territory, of course. Anyone who grew up with the sound of SLAYER, KREATOR, POSSESSED or early SEPULTURA ringing in their ears will feel immediately at home here, but SCHIZOPHRENIA are several degrees more intense than anything those bands were capable of back in the day. A couple of decades of spiteful extremity have given them a sense of compositional depth that belies the notion that this is a purely nostalgic exercise, and thus everything from grandiloquent opener "Divine Immolation" to bombastic finale "Stratified Realities" delivers equal amounts of red meat and sinister surprise. Nimbly morphing from all-out attack to a haunting, melancholy mid-pace, culminating in a grotesque, cacophonous crescendo, "Sea of Sorrow" is a particularly stunning act of subversion. "Onwards to Fire" is even more ambitious: from its "South of Heaven"-like intro and slow-burning sense of dread to its climactic razor-slash descent into hate-thrash hell, it's defiant old-school metal forced through a spinning, infernal kaleidoscope.

SCHIZOPHRENIA are equally effective when they rein in their creative urges and go directly for the throat. "Inside the Walls of Madness" is an untamed riot of feral blasting, leprous barks and heads-down, speed metal clatter, and one of the most straightforwardly exciting slabs of pure, black-hearted heavy metal since the last POSSESSED album. Likewise, "Cranial Disintegration" is the kind of jolting, overzealous dose of filthy thrash hostility that made this undervalued subgenre such a visceral thrill first time around; "Fall of the Damned", which begins with a ghostly haze of schlock horror, rattles and smashes like classic ANGELCORPSE on a runaway train to the end of days. The closing "Stratified Realities" — strong KREATOR vibes, rich in blackened pomp — is an equally fine amalgam of arcane horrors and skilled invention. The only sane conclusion to draw is that SCHIZOPHRENIA are breathing new life into one of heavy music's most righteous crossovers.

Author: Dom Lawson
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