But let me pose the question otherwise: let's not come down on the "technicality" issue just yet; rather, is this record enjoyable to listen to? does it grow on you? It's best not to approach music with genre-blinders on ("Oh, it's too 'technical' for me.")
First off, this is ridiculous fun--if Cannibal Corpse was too repetitive for any but the most attention-starved 14 year old, this is all the enjoyable shock and kitsch of Cannibal Corpse, dressed up as real music--and what music! Every riff is embellished, every stop/start part operates in stereo, nothing is played the same twice. It's impossible to follow, of course, but unlike Cannibal Corpse it is never boring.
Secondly, by taking death metal to this "extreme," somehow the music has lost all the raw aggression, heaviness, intensity, et al, of extreme metal--vocals and tempos aside, this could almost be new age ambient sounds... in a manner of speaking. For die-hard old school fans, this will be a major drawback, but it is what it is. This music's not hard. After a few listens, there is nothing "sick" or "crazy" about it.
Thirdly, it's completely addictive. I've listened to this record 4 times today already--whether one can burn out on it or not, we'll see, but it's full of neat parts and a lot of it is really standout.
Any discourse about "needless wankery," "music for robots," "no soul," "not catchy," "too technical," "actually not that hard to play"--really fall by the wayside when you approach this album the right way. It's fun and quite addictive. Strangely this band has found a kind of popularity by playing this absurd style, and who's to say that I am not missing some authentic core, but if a band is "pandering" by writing three million cool little parts, that is the particular kind of condescension that doesn't bother me.
Score: 4/5 stars (****)
Best songs: "Mutilate the Stillborn," "Fermented Offal Discharge"