This is some excellent death metal. If you are looking for death metal, may I suggest this album.
I like the balance between pummeling and knotty. This is some brutal music, but it is also very clear that the players can play. There are a number of riffs and breaks which really show that these guys could play prog metal or math rock if they wanted to. That is very much what I want out of my metal, whether it be death metal or most other genres – in addition to being pummeled, I want to be impressed. And van Drunen has a suitably crazy voice. (Imagine if he had a power metal voice – what would this even be?)
Overall the sound is quite good. I get why people say this record sounds so good, because you can hear the guitars properly and the vocals and they sound very professional, while the band still has a great edge. As some people pointed out, there’s a bit of an issue with the drums, as they often sound recorded in another room (as I’m sure they were) and they’re almost too clear. What I mean by that is that you don’t get the pummel so much as the individual tuned drums, which sound so light some times as to be amusing. Also, where’s the bass? Is it my headphones?
But, on the whole, this is exactly what I want from death metal. I have still only heard maybe 15 death metal albums in my life and so I really can’t make any claim about this record’s importance to the genre. I feel like it was established well enough by 1989 that maybe it isn’t that big a deal. But I like it about as much as any pure death metal record I’ve heard, aside from some elements of the production.