For whatever reason, most of France's flagship extreme metal bands tend to be more experimental than those from other countries. Maybe the country's lack of a strong black and death metal scene in the nineties' caused newer acts to take a left-hand path approach, or maybe there's just something in the water over there that produced acts like Deathspell Omega, Gojira, Blut Aus Nord, and countless others. Whatever the cause may be, France's very own Offending is proof that not every band from the country is interested in pursuing an experimental and avant-garde style. This five piece collective plays a style of death metal that just reeks of old-school brutality and blasphemy, and Age of Perversion is a great example of this style done right.
One look at the track listing, which consists of song titles like "Infested By His Burden", "Raped by Religion", and "Modern Enslavement", and it should be clear that we're dealing with some pretty blasphemous old school death metal in the vein of Deicide, Immolation, and Morbid Angel. Offending wouldn't have sounded out of place in the early nineties' American death metal scene at all, and thankfully the quality of their material is also up to par. The music will beat your ass into the dirt with its unrelenting brutality and technicality, but Age of Perversion also contains a few melodic solos and doomy riffs to keep things interesting. Songs like "Infested By His Burden" and "Age of Perversion" are just top-notch old school death metal, and while nothing here sounds wildly original, the entire album is executed flawlessly. The production also has an organic feel to it that suits the music perfectly.
That being said, Age of Perversion is the sort of album that will probably be forgotten about by many death metal listeners - it does very little to stand out from the crowd, and although the music itself is excellent, the general lack of innovation shown by Offending probably won't get them the attention they deserve. This is quite a shame, actually, since the quality of Age of Perversion is well-above that of most other death metal newcomers - the musicianship is phenomenal and the compositions are solid, so for those reasons alone, this is definitely worth checking out. I'd like to see Offending offer up a bit more originality next time around, but for the time being, this sophomore observation is certainly recommended to old school death metal fans.