Although I slightly prefer the atmosphere and overall wretchedness of the first Saprogenic full length, The Wet Sound of Flesh on Concrete, this follow up, Ichneumonid, offers something different that is quite enjoyable. On this solid, solid album, Saprogenic emerges from the reverb cavern of their debut and proffers a very respectable display of riffs, strength, aggression and improved arranging abilities.
There is nothing subtle about this record. It is about beefy hooks and surprising arrangements all delivered with a consistent level of force, often at midtempo. In spots Machpherson's drums don't sound quite as locked in as on the debut, though he is a proficient and creative player, so this is likely a result of the punchier, fairly brickwalled sound that clarifies every hit. Overall, tunes like Death March have a little bit of looseness that makes everything feel REAL and performed (see also: Hate Eternal, The Crown and Squash Bowels) rather than assembled, which is atypical given the clarity of the sound stage. In short: these guys are great players, and I like that they leave in the little flaws.
Swanson's vocals are very guttural and often a consistent wave sound. The choices he makes seem a little less musical than they were on the debut--a bit closer to the smothering style of Matti Way--though they are fine and support the music. Also, there are more slamming sections on this album than the debut LP, and they do this stuff very well, and occasionally in weird meters, as heard in the Morbid Angel-tinged, Unparalleled Perversions.
So this is my favorite Pathology album, even though it's not by Pathology. But yeah ... Ichneumonid really sounds similar to things like Age of Onset or Awakening to the Suffering (and predates them as well). On all of these release, both bands favor abstract vocals, short energetic tunes and brutality over tech, though they have the skills for tech. Saprogenic writes better riffs than their better known (and very active) peers and also crafts more interesting arrangements and more culmination moments, so they really win in all departments.
The most limiting thing about this release is that it is comprised of 11 fairly short songs (totaling about 35 minutes)---so the scope never reaches too far and nothing ever has too much weight. Overall, Ichneumonid is a forceful, enjoyable and carefully detailed platter of brutal death metal.