If nothing else, that is one righteous album cover from artist Remy Cuveillier. Fortunately for fans of frenetic tech-death, the music on EMBRYONIC DEVOURMENT's "Vivid Interpretations of the Void" is pretty righteous as well. The infamous tale — or truth, depending on your conspiratorial leanings — of a government-controlling reptilian race that was explored by the band on 2007's frantic teeth-rattler "Fear of Reality Exceeds Fantasy" is revisited on "Vivid Interpretations of the Void", which also happens to be a marked musical improvement from its predecessor.
The sophomore full-length takes the miasmal technicality and often nerve wracking characteristics of "Fear of Reality…" and adds a little more dissimilitude of composition, not to mention advancements in sound clarity. The debut's tempo insanity can be heard here as well, but there is a noticeable degree of rhythmic control this time around. More breathing room is present within those bent and twisted structures, relatively speaking. In short, the boys bought a bigger toolbox and actually opened the damn thing.
The vocals are better in terms of both patterning and enunciation; the searing solos make more of an impact; and the music flows — both within and across songs — in a more cohesive manner. "We are Chitauri" is the case in point. The vocals are downright dynamic, the pace shifts are seamless, and the melodic solo break is a pleasant, even shocking, surprise. Incidentally, is it just me or is the final section of "Perceiving the Multidimensional" reminiscent of a late '70s RUSH jam, right down to the Lifeson-esque solo supported by the Lee-ish bass line? Regardless, it's an attention-grabber.
This is the part where the warning about speaking in "relative terms" must be heeded. An EMBRYONIC DEVOURMENT disc is not an "easy" listen, even by tech-death standards. Though its appeal may be somewhat limited, "Vivid Interpretations of the Void" is a significant step in style refinement without any decline in intensity or loss of identity. Fans of CRYPTOPSY (Lord Worm releases) and CEPHALIC CARNAGE, as well as acts like ODIOUS MORTEM and GOROD, to varying degrees, are advised to take note. Just don't consume any caffeinated beverages at least three hours prior to a high-volume listening session with this one.