Paths of Possession seem to have all the right components of a functioning group, yet they’ve blindly followed every quality of a stereotypical death metal act with repetitive riffs, average percussion, and overall messy musical composition. Even with the legendary George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher of Cannibal Corpse fame holding the microphone, they’ve still managed to dope around with lame efforts like Promises in Blood. It’s no question Paths of Possession badly needs change, or at least something that adds motivation to a falling group. Would the risky concept record zap the heart back into activity? Yes, but the subject will remain on life support until the pulse stabilizes, if you know what I mean.
Sure they’ve mildly augmented their sound since their last few appearances, but Paths of Possession remains the interchangeable gang of vanilla-pasted metal with little variety, even with a concept record. Titled The End of the Hour, Paths of Possession’s conceptual endeavor lacks fundamental aspects of a decent LP; both musically and lyrically. While it’s not the worst thing you’ll ever hear, The End of the Hour strains the fibers of pleasure, and is just another boring chapter in the chronicles of an overrated association.
Honestly, this record is definitely the best thing Paths of Possession have ever conjured, but the group’s contagious flaws commonly infect the organs of enjoyment. As usual, we have an average attempt at cramming death metal with melodic touches, and the result isn’t very charming to say the least. The riffs are listenable overall, but sloppy at times; the percussion is in standard patterns and double-pedal taps with often blastbeat sections; and the bass roams freely, leaving its droppings for us to indulge. Corpsegrinder is clearly the driving force behind the band and sounds great here, even though he occasionally sounds annoying from raspy tones or high-pitched shrieks. Corpsegrinder is once again the prime figure, and everyone else performs at a mediocre level. Yep, it’s definitely Paths of Possession.
But believe it or not, the occasional sign of improvement does reside under rare circumstances, at least on the musical end. “Memory Burns,” for instance, displays the excellent union of Cannibal Corpse-influenced death metal with stunning melodic harmonies and epic soloing; it’s definitely the best thing ever released under the Paths of Possession moniker. Also, a few of the anthems grapple at a sweet transition between heavy, mid-paced breakdowns and fast blasting of all kinds; however, these sections sprout up just a few times. There has been a lot of improvement since Promises in Blood, but it’s still the same middle-class attack you’d expect from Paths of Possession.
The music is second-rate at best, but the most disappointing asset lies within the record’s own lyrical content. Hailed as a concept album, The End of the Hour is loosely tied by a confusing story without any clarity about the CD’s own theme, and no causation for important events in the fable itself. The End of the Hour is essentially about a man’s suffering in life and death that transforms him into an apocalypse-inducing man upstairs. Sounds interesting, but they screw it up. Here’s the whole story of this demigod as told by our buddies at Paths of Possession: “Guy has rough time…..and then…..Bam! He’s a big, scary monster! He becomes constipated…..and then.....everyone dies. LMFAO!”
Seriously, there is no coherent connection between the lyrics and the actual story beside this little synopsis I just elegantly provided. The band brags about a meaningful saga of epic amplitudes, but where is it? If you’re going to boast about a concept record, act on it; don’t spiel about apples and serve oranges. It’s probably the most problematic issue on this CD, mainly because it sounded so interesting, but failed to deliver.
The End of the Hour is far and away the best thing Paths of Possession have offered thus far; but that really isn't saying much as it still presents a large amount of mediocrity, boredom, and redundancy. Paths of Possession is just a baffling band: They have Corpsegrinder, talented musicians, and occasionally try new ideas, but they can't seem to get anything right, and this conceptual CD still leaves them in the gutter with nothing proved at all. The End of the Hour does, however, sway one idea from theory to fact: Just because record 'X' has a lyrical concept doesn't mean band 'Y' have reached the climax of their career.