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Negativa Negativa

Negativa - Negativa
01. Chaos in Motion
02. Taedium Vitae
03. Rebellion
2006 Prodisk

Reviewed by: Michael Gluck   //   Published: 1/31/2007

It seems as though Quebec has no intention of dethroning itself as the world's leader producer of innovative, technical death metal anytime soon. Unlike the geographically based Florida and New York scenes of the nineties, which a reputation of homogeneity gradually befell, Quebec's volatile political history as a separate nation within the country of Canada has solidified a revolutionary spirit in the French-speaking majority that convincingly finds its voice through music. Of course, not all Quebecois are masters of death metal. But nearly all the masters of death metal are Quebecois. The reuniting of Cryptopsy and Voivod, and the long-awaited debut release from ex-Gorguts project Negativa, effectively ties the current, mushrooming version of Quebec's metal scene to its humble early years. Started by Luc Lemay and Steev Hurdle in 1997, the Negativa project has remained mostly dormant until recently, when they recruited ex-Neuraxis and Augury drummer Etienne Gallo (who was recently hired as a session player for Aborted's new album) and ex-Ion Dissonance bassist Miguel Valade, and ventured into the studio to cut this twenty-minute, self-titled enhanced MCD.

The inventive guitar genius of songwriting team Lemay and Hurdle, previously showcased only on Gorguts' most experimental work, 1998's Obscura, is instantly recognizable, yet strikingly different. Lemay's contribution here comes only in the form of lyrics, but his return to creating music for the first time since the tragic death of his most recent drummer, Steve Macdonald (who played on 2001's From Wisdom To Hate, the band's return to their roots, according to some), should be applauded. Guitarist Steev Hurdle, whose contribution to Obscura helped make it one of the most avant-garde death metal albums ever produced, wrote all the music on Negativa's debut, a task he had previously undertaken only on the doom-death Obscura track, "Cloudy." Unsurprisingly then, two of the three Negativa songs, "Chaos in Motion" and "Rebellion," can be aligned most closely with that of Obscura, the exception being "Taedium Vitae" due to its abstract, almost non-musical nature. The death-oriented songs of the bunch feature multi-layered dissonant harmonies over a rhythm section that blasts away reliably while shifting tempos at unforeseen moments.

When Roadrunner were snapping up death metal bands in the early nineties in much the same fashion as they now scout Killswitch Engage clones, they capitalized on a new trend and succeeded in draining it of its life in the process. Unquestionably innovators with their two albums for the label, Considered Dead and The Erosion of Sanity, Montreal's Gorguts benefited from the buzz and enjoyed tours with Florida frontrunners Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, before being put out with the trash when the style's fan base moved on. With these two essential albums about to be re-released by Metal Mind in limited and numbered digipack packaging, and MVD in the States, a posthumous reverence is sure to emerge, but will not be met by a reunion. Negativa is the new and likely final project of Luc Lemay and Steev Hurdle. For all its idiosyncrasies, the self-titled MCD offers a torturous tease of what its members have done in previous bands, and what we can only hope they accomplish in the future. Like the later works of Gorguts, Negativa's span a far greater base than merely brutal death, a style that continues to be impressively enhanced by both younger and other veterans. While the MCD's seemingly ethereal ambiance may deter some from holding it up to recent groundbreaking and unremitting works from Neuraxis, Augury, and Atheretic, it only shows Negativa intent on following their own creative plan. Whether they enlarge or diminish the eccentric components on the full-length currently being written may mean the difference between walking the path alone or being swept up in the resurging death metal scene. However the band seems to have little concern for their fate, a noticeable sign of true artistry in death metal.

Bottom Line: The especially limited release of a thousand copies of this MCD on Montreal's Prodisk is intended to whet the appetites of whatever Gorguts fans remain, which shall be helped in no small part by the label's nearly simultaneous release of Gorguts supposed "final release ever," a live album stemming from an early performance, Live in Rotterdam. The MCD is also likely geared towards piquing the interest of a younger generation with trained ears for experimental death metal; precisely the demographic classic albums of that nature including Atheist's trio of masterpieces, and Cynic and Disincarnate's lone statements were reissued for. For a Gorguts fan, this MCD is essential because it is the first new music from Steev Hurdle since Obscura, and reminds of the era, albeit in far too short order. Negativa's debut album is indeed anxiously awaited.

CuntSnot_   posted 2/1/2007 9:07:13 AM
I hate Gorguts... this band is better, but only a little... both over-rated
FUCK_   posted 2/1/2007 12:28:01 AM
alexcreate_   posted 1/31/2007 10:56:31 PM
terrible vocals
goodfellow_   posted 1/31/2007 9:52:10 PM
this cd is awesome and in my player non stop
anonymous   posted 1/31/2007 9:10:11 PM
i don't see what's so bad about the review

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