Posts Tagged ‘Deathcore’

Signs of the Swarm - Vital Deprivation

The follow up to their devastating second record, ‘The Disfigurement of Existence’, Pittsburgh’s Signs of the Swarm are releasing ‘Vital Deprivation’ this October through Unique Leader Records. Are you ready for some SLAMZ?! Because this record is full of them. Oh, so much brutality.

This is so brutal even the ‘intro’ track is fucking crushing. You probably know what to expect here, just over half an hour of the slammiest breakdowns you’ll hear this year, with that interplay of growl/scream/pig squeal vocals and a relentless hammering of your senses. But Signs of the Swarm do occasionally slip in the odd respite, maybe even the odd melody in there which does help the variety. Most of the time you’ll find the songs beating you down, harder, into the ground like a concrete jackboot.

The slower pace of ‘Celestial Ascendence’ allows a melodic guitar solo time to breathe, whereas the Meshuggah-like chug of ‘Lost Within Reflection’ is absolutely fucking great. Deathcore is normally designed to destroy pits, and with some of the mammoth breakdowns on show here, that will not be a problem. I suppose, if you aren’t totally sold on the merits of deathcore you may find this a little samey by the end, but for me it hits all the right notes.

‘Vital Deprivation’ is crisp, almost unbearably brutal at points but add enough interesting wrinkles to keep them placed above the more boring, one dimensional deathcore bands. Signs of the Swarm have got all the bloody tools to carve out a good career bludgeoning people with this style, but they’ve got to avoid the pitfalls of the genre. So far, they’re steering a brilliant course.

Belgian deathcore upstarts When Plagues Collide release their debut full length, ‘Tutor of the Dying’ on the 1st of November, and it is already generating a bit of buzz with its symphonic leanings. You may be sick of deathcore by now, but you’ve probably not heard it interpreted like this before…

Opener ‘Messengers of the Holy Falsehood’ brings some dramatic orchestral backgrounds to a chugging, behemoth of a track. Breakdowns and savage vocals are king, but it is all haunted by a lonely piano that adds something slighty creepy to it. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of this record is still massive riffs, massive breakdowns and massive brutality, but I love how When Plagues Collide are interjecting symphonic elements. It’s like Fleshgod Apocalypse, only with less flair and more BROOTALZ. ‘Dictating Violence’ has a killer dose of speed to it, when the heft of the title track is designed to push you slowly but surely into the earth. The band haven’t quite got to the grandiose majesty of those aforementioned Italian masters, but they are worthy disciples.

In an effort to revitalise a genre that is at risk of suffocating under its own breakdowns and dude-bro nonsense, When Plagues Collide have strode off on their own path, cutting swathes through the competition with unique songs and an adventurous spirit. ‘Tutor of the Dying’ is a record that explores unconventional ideas but ties them into an appealing, brutal package of riffs. Familiar, and yet oddly new, this is a great release.


Gomorrah are a Canadian three piece that plays crushing deathcore/death metal, laden with strange tones and riffing. Taking cues from the oddness of fellow Canadians Gorguts and Ulcerate, Gomorrah’s ‘The Haruspex’ is an album full of alien melodies and devastating brutality.

Opener ‘Imperial’ builds with a threatening riff, before a huge collapse signals one of this year’s most brutal breakdowns. ‘Nine Kings of Sulphur’ opens with spiralling guitar before crushing brutality ensues. Gomorrah have this almost futuristic bent to their sledgehammer assault, with the stop start carnage of ‘Carcosa’ doused in a wailing, otherworldly siren of a solo. Eerie atonal melodies also haunt the thundering ‘Dismantling the Throne’.

The earth cracking ‘Sitra Achra’ is the first single from the record, and you can see why. It encapsualtes their sound perfectly; that HUGE breakdown, those eerie clean guitar melodies, the guttural roar and bug eyed intensity. The same can be said for the machine gun massacre of ‘Crowns of Flesh’ which recalls Ion Dissonance at their most potent. When this kind of brutality is executed well, like here, it can be so invigorating. Smashing anything in its way, ‘The Haruspex’ is a rippling beast of a record, full of muscular breakdowns that would destroy those who are unprepared.

From the power of ‘Venom and Rapture’ to the head cavingly heavy closer ‘The Mark of Veritas’, Gomorrah have crafted an album of heavy hitting, world destroying riffs and will crush you under their weight. Superb work, can’t wait for more!

Originally published here:

Xibalba are a death metal/hardcore band from Pomona, California and ‘Tierra Y Libertad’ is their third album. Signed to Southern Lord, and employed legendary cover artist Dan Seagrave to do their album art shows that they’re serious about being a contender in this world. But, that worryingly ‘familiar’ genre style, ‘deathcore’, might be a struggle to overcome in this saturated market.

Fortunately, Xibalba employ ‘deathcore’ virtues more in the vein of the Acacia Strain than any shitty, fluorescent scene deathcore band. This is a properly mixed blend of mid 90s death metal riffs and crushing breakdowns laden with intensity. Opening track ‘Enemigo’ is a good example. There is a massive low end to this, and it has that Southern Lord hardcore feel. The label tends to pick up bands of this ilk that have something almost dissonant in their breakdown/riffs, and it appears here. This is a battering into submission track, grabbing your attention firmly by the balls, and then slamming you into the ground.

‘Guerilla’ brings a massive, Morbid Angel style groove after the opening samples, alternating between titan riffs and barrelling, hardcore bludgeon. ‘Invierno’ is more of the same, but this time with some vast Bolt Thrower riffs. Xibalba know their riffs and they know their influences. They have a potent cocktail of dense death metal and hardcore aggression. The vocals are more or less as you’d expect from a hardcore/death metal band, but the groove is fucking righteous, which is not what you’d expect.

That’s what makes me really enjoy this record. Bands that mix and match between death and hardcore generally leave out a sense of head nodding groove. The liberating ‘Pausa’ allows the record to breathe, if only for a minute, before ‘En Paz Decanse’ bulldozes everything in its path. The mammoth earth rupturing riffs in the mid part of the song show every floppy fringed scenecore dick how to do a breakdown properly. There’s some great guitar lines here too, bringing to mind some classic Crowbar in points. It’s truly awesome. This Crowbar influence is also all over the slow burning intro to ‘Si Dios Quierre’, and epic closer ‘El Vacio’.

‘Tierra Y Libertad’ would be great simply because it’s created a reason for the term ‘deathcore’ to stay relevant. But it’s also great because it is heavier than a whale fucking the Moon, it has grooves the size of the Realm Of Chaos (check out that ‘World Eater’ worship that runs through the title track), and still comes up with little surprises with every listen. If only all mixes of genres could be this devastating…

When the good people at Undying Inc sent me thier newest EP to review, they also sent me a copy of their last full length, ‘Aggressive World Dynasty’ as well. Aren’t they just the nicest sort of people? So here is a review of said record as a thank you. Now, I was a fan of ‘Ironclad’, having never heard of the band at all until they contacted me, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the release. I sometimes wonder if bands that I hear on EPs or demos have the songwriting legs to make it count on a full length. Undying Inc have provided me with the means.

After your standard intro of interesting noises and jagged guitar effects, we are thrown into the mixer head first with the punishing ‘Concept Error’. More of what make ‘Ironclad’ so good, there’s loads of chunky death metal riffage, punctuated with stop start moments and blasting drums. Earth-judderingly djent/death is the order of the day here, with riffs flying in all directions. ‘Membraneous’ follows with a similar, devil may care attitude for sticking with a riff. You feel like this is what TesseracT would sound like if one of them had an obsession with Suffocation. It’s uber slick, but doesn’t lose anything in that. If anything, the shiny production helps bring all the separate elements together.

The brutality continues, from the crushing ‘After-Math’ through the relentless ‘Manimal’ to the rage of ‘Xenophobe’. ‘Breeding Gods’ opens like ‘Chaosphere’ era Meshuggah, then pogos between plunging riffs and throat wrenching screams. There are riffs everywhere, sometimes making it hard to follow until all of a sudden a thunderous breakdown appears and we’re ok again. By concentrating on the heavy end of the djent spectrum, they aren’t falling into the pitfalls of other bands in the style who have all moved towards an almost commercial sound. Undying Inc probably will never be commercial, they are too complex for the scene kids and too heavy for the djent crowd. Their uniqueness is a breath of fresh air.

Undying Inc are a great example of the vitality of the Indian metal scene. They currently benefit from their location, as they’ll never develop any kind of real copycat tag. They’ve been doing this for the past 10 years, and it’s refreshing to see a band bring such intensity and ingenuity even after that long. They’re pulling out riffs that this world has never seen. They’ve yet to crack major Western markets, but a bit of time and the right promotion, and they could do well.

Undying Inc is one of India’s longest running metal bands, being part of the scene for over 10 years. Their bassist Reuben Bhattacharya emailed me a copy of their latest EP, ‘Ironclad’, after reading some of my work on fellow Indian flag bearers like Demonic Resurrection and Bhayanak Maut. Let’s see what they bring to the table from the vast untapped cauldron of metal excellence that the subcontinent is proving to be. Opener ‘Snakes of Inertia’ is a downtuned slam fest of grooving, polyrhythmic riffs with hints of djent breakdowns and a roaring vocal. It is dazzlingly technical, juddering from left to right like the riffs are caught in a hurricane. Spiralling guitar melodies give way to thunderous breakdown and vice versa. Undying Inc are clearly inspired by Swedish riff manglers Meshuggah, incorporating dizzying tempo changes and enough riffs to flatten mountains. And that’s just the first track… ‘Pit Mechanics’ is much more deathcore in style, seriously downtuned riffs crushing everything in their path, vocals yoyo-ing between gut wrenching screams and bowel rattling growls. There’s some more of that jagged riffing that is quite distinctive. I can see this causing much pit destruction when it is played live, perhaps that’s what the name refers to? Nevertheless, it is another bruising workout in breakdowns and death metal riffing. The title track is yet another stormer, kicking off after what sounds like 8 bit Sega music at the start. It is a much more straightforward rager, less temp changes and thrashier. Undying Inc have a strange hybrid of progressive, Meshuggah esque polyrhythmic djent and straightforward deathcore, creating some more interesting examples of extremity than we’ve heard in years. Closing with the Pantera medley ‘Beyond Trendkill’, a fine tribute to the memory of Dimebag’s stellar guitarwork by unleashing the heavy in seriously devastating fashion, Undying Inc’s ‘Ironclad’ mark them out to be somewhat unique in the Indian metal I’ve come across thus far. It is unrelentingly heavy, unashamedly complex and ludicrously brutal in parts. Check it out if you like feeling your head being caved in by angry giants. On speed. Listen here and buy here

The guys from Indian deathcore/groove metal mob Eyes of the Martyr have released their new single, yesterday I believe, and as I have developed a bit of a rapport with them, and the fact that I like what they do, I’ve decided to give them another review. ‘Possessed’ has a much more ominous start than ‘Incubus Breach’, growing a buzzing, tremolo riff slowly from a tribal, percussive drumming base. It starts to build, slowly, almost in a post metal style for the first minute or so, and then the riffs slam in and you’re hurled into a mosh centric breakdown. The roaring, Blythe-isms of Amir Hasni again are perfectly suited for the hammering, Lamb of God style riffs, but the rhythms and structures are more unusual, less straightforward which creates a bit of a unique vibe.

‘Possessed’ is longer and more complex than ‘Incubus Breach’, shoving in a new set of ideas into the basic NWOAHM framework. There’s a stop start riff section around the 4:30 mark that is pure pit fodder, but to call Eyes of the Martyrs mere copyists would be easy, and false. This is a band that could become something special, if a full length release can maintain interest and not just descend into lazy, bread and butter riffs. If they take the elements they show that make them a bit unique; the acoustics at the start of their first single, the buzzing, almost black metal riff opening to ‘Possessed’, and the general off kilter feeling of their timings, and use that as a basis to create, Eyes of the Martyr should raise eyebrows.

Check it out here

Returning to these fair isles after jaunts to Estonia and India, a round up featuring some of my latest and most favourite discoveries in the world of the underground. It amazes me that there are so many bands out there in the UK playing all types of twisted extreme music that are totally unrecognised. Bringing these guys to the attention of the wider metal audience feels almost like an obligation!

First is Edinburgh’s Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta, with their four track demo ‘Death by the Venomhammer’, available here. It has been a while since I got only halfway through an opening song and I was already clicking the buy button. This is harsh, raw thrashing black metal at its best, but it possesses some killer riffs and some brilliant songs. The new Aura Noir? Who knows, but I wouldn’t bet against it. Buy here.

Next up is Osiah, a seriously heavy and crushing deathcore band whose ‘Perennial Agony‘ is actually one of the best deathcore songs I’ve heard in ages. I’m normally not a big deathcore fan, I find a lot of it samey and lacking inspiration somewhat. But I fucking love ‘Perennial Agony’. I don’t know why exactly, and maybe thats a good thing. Maybe that means it has that spark that many of their peers lack. Who knows? Anyway, get it downloaded.

Next is black metallers Slaughter Throne from Leeds, who have just released a new EP entitled ‘Wrath of an Ancient Darkness‘. This is four tracks of galloping, icy and majestic black metal. Heavy on atmosphere to begin, but not lacking in the sort of aggression you’d expect. The title track begins with a riff that reminds me of the magic of Melechesh, and I think that really sold me on these guys. An excellent band

Next are Repulsive Vision, who play a nasty style of death metal replete with chainsaw riffing and a relentless battery of drumming. They only have instrumental versions of four tracks available on their Facebook page, but their mix of sludgy Autopsy riffs with dashes of early period Cannibal Corpse aggression makes for good listenings! Listen here.

My final shout is Sheffield’s Nokturnal Ritual, whose ‘Ushering a New Era of Agony’ debut record is one of the harshest and most intense black metal records I’ve heard in years. The rasping, unholy croak of the vocals are seriously necro, and the waspish riffs and battering drums are a non stop assault on the senses. Download here and prepare to have your brain turned to mush.

There we have it, five more bands hiding in the UK’s vibrant underground metal scene. Five bands who deserve to be supported. Bang thy fucking heads.

Riffs are the flavour of today. Big chunky doom riffs, spazzy djent riffs, brutal fret shredding death metal riffs. RIFFS! Ok, calm blue ocean… Without riffs, metal is shit. Ok thats not true, but riffs are amazing. ACTUAL amazing. I write this while listening to some serious riffs, that explains my excitement.

First choice tonight is fucking Make Them Suffer. Probably my favourite Cannibal Corpse song, (just throwing it out there) and an Australian deathmetalcore band (10 points for new genre creation). Its a track from their 2010 EP ‘Lord of Woe’, called Weeping Wastelands. Its fucking brutal, very Black Dahlia Murder style overlaid with gothic piano tones and it is chock full of riffs. Like, hundreds. This is what focused, precision, modern death metal sounds like. If they lost the keyboards I wouldn’t complain, but they are used suitably sparingly here to be bearable. Keyboards are for black metal or prog, not for head caving brutality like this. Still, I fucking love it. \m/ Listen here:

Next is Norwegian doom lords Tombstones with their track ‘Supernoid’ from 2010’s Volume II record. I’m really upset at myself for not knowing about these guys sooner. They are seriously good. This track kicks in (after a suitably melancholic acoustic intro) with one of the best Sabbath/Candlemass esque riffs you’ll ever hear. EVER. If you had to show someone that didn’t know what doom was, you play this. Then properly educate them with the classics. This is a ten minute steamroller death trip; a sneak at what Electric Wizard sound like if you strip out the 70s haze and psychedelica. There are no vocals, but I swear you put Messiah Marcolin over this, you’d probably die from the awesome. It slays:

Finally, I’m leaving on a slightly lower note (no offence) with Temporal. An Australian…um…metalcore/deathcore/djent band? I’m not entirely sure. They have a new song called ‘Infinite’ out, and most of it is pretty badass. It’s got crazy ass djent riffing, deathcore breakdowns and clean choruses that are reasonably catchy. So far, so good. It even has a quiet, almost prog moment right in the middle, which is kinda different and cool. But then for a brief moment they go all Linkin Park (2:20), and that’s disappointing. Other than that, it kicks a reasonable amount of ass, the band have a good potential and hopefully it’ll happen for them:

This week, I have been mostly enjoying the newest breed of deathcore/slam-death metal that seems to be leaking all over the place. I have a bit of a soft spot for this style if I’m honest. Yeah yeah, none of it is particularly original, or even impressive but by Lucifer it is fucking heavy. Amd sometimes that is all you need. Moving on!

First off we have Those Who Fear and their new track, ‘Burn’. It’s a fair approximation of deathcore; full of chugging riffs and slamming breakdowns but lacking anything special to lift it above simply decent. Still worth a headbang at least once though. Watch it here:

Next we have Vale of Pnath. Although not technical deathcore/slam (they’re much more widdly tech death merchants), I thought I’d include them simply because they SLAY! It’s difficult to make technical death that’s catchy but these Rocky Mountain movers pull it off. Its a grower too, my first impression was less enthusiastic (I believe I wrote in my notebook that it was nothing to go out of the way for), but its definitely getting better with each listen. Watch fingers bleed here:

Final track this evening is Osiah and Perennial Agony. Now this is heavy. Seriously heavy. Like tectonic plates smashing into each other heavy. This is the reason I like some deathcore. Huge breakdowns reinforce what’s great about brutal music, and although there is nothing revolutionary about it, it ticks all the right boxes in the riff categories for me. It’s not for everyone, but I’ll admit to being converted. Crush your ears here: