CANNAE's third album and the first one I've heard, "Gold Becomes Sacrifice", snorts, snarls, and kicks 90-pound weaklings in the face. As far as sheer heaviness is concerned, the quintet leaves bomb craters in its wake. Except for the brief instrumental, "Collapse", "Gold Becomes Sacrifice" continues to throw punch after punch. On the downside, the album feels a little stiff and the songwriting is mostly average.There is nothing on this album that I would call bad or sub-par, and all of it attacks with rabid aggression. Songs like "Faceless Portrait" are more than adequate and are played with convincing intensity. The battering ram approach on "Gold Becomes Sacrifice" isn't intended to be melodiously infectious or charming, so I'm not about to blast the boys for it. The understated guitar harmonies are relatively effective and the up-tempo chug-riff/kick-drum pummel is punishing, even if it feels like the group plays it too close to the vest at times. In a few cases, I found myself liking parts of songs more than the songs themselves (i.e. the swirling bass on "Audience of the Unspoken"). That the guitar solos on several tracks feel more like a reprieve, rather than a mere arrangement-break, is indicative of song structures that could use some sprucing up. Two of those are guest solos, by the way: James Murphy (DEATH, OBITUARY, TESTAMENT) on "Bastinado" and co-producer Jason Suecof (CAPHARNAUM) on "Acts of False Signals". If nothing else, "Gold Becomes Sacrifice" is a solid head-stomper of a metal album. There's isn't anything distasteful or disingenuous about it. There isn't anything spectacular about it either. If you dig brutal thrash with a pinch of death metal and hardcore (not really metalcore), then you'll probably enjoy this one. There's just something about it that doesn't sit quite right with me.
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