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Just as I thought that the year in releases is about to hit a plateau, brutal death metal outfit Deadly Remains comes smashing along with their new full length album, Severing Humanity. While the band started off playing death/thrash metal, Severing Humanity sees the band exploring a heavier and more brutal side of the band's songwriting, and places Deadly Remains on the brutal death metal end of the spectrum. With their experience as a band playing death/thrash previously, it leaves one to wonder what to expect with a brand new sound on this album.
The band punishes the listener without any mercy at all right from the beginning with Apocalyptic Birth, and the influences from brutal death metal legends such as Suffocation are immediately noticeable, with the drums of James and the dual axe-attack of Josh and Ian coalescing together to create some of the most impactful and memorable moments in recent times. The technical approach in the band's playing is displayed not only through the complex riffs that are constantly present and the versatile drumming, but also in the bass of Chris, with the band often giving air time for him to display his prowess on the instrument. The prominence of the bass in the mix, the punchy tone and the fast fretboard work of bassist Chris is also reminiscent of bands such as Japanese brutal death outfit Defiled, especially on tracks like Equilibrium Obsolete.
The brutality that is contained on Severing Humanity cannot be overstated enough, with the band channelling the heaviness through the crushing riffs, but also through various techniques such as the numerous heart stopping moments that are littered throughout the record, whereby the entire band includes an unexpected moment of silence, instantly causing the listener's heart to skip a beat in anxious anticipation. Such playing styles, coupled with the modern production quality on Severing Humanity instantly bring to mind recent brutal death outfits such as Cerebral Bore and Antropofagus' recent releases, with the seamless fusion between brutality and technicality. And in line with their themes of gore, violence and societal issues, sound and spoken samples are also used, like on the intro of Home Invasion and Human Trafficking, to further enhance the already crushing and hostile atmosphere that is present.
While for the most part Severing Humanity is a slab of pure brutality and intensity, the band also attempts to push the envelope further in their music, at times incorporating unconventional elements on the album, such as the acoustic interlude Psalm of Impurity, and that weird acoustic guitar accompaniment on Scriptures of Foreign Tongues, giving a weird contrasting and somewhat ironic feel to the track, what with all the chaos that is going around. Though this could mess with listeners' heads initially, it also displays the band's attempts at innovation at the same time, and in particular Psalm of Impurity helps to bring in the foreboding atmosphere in the music as well.
As the band's first attempt at brutal death metal, Deadly Remains has certainly done well, and Severing Humanity has displayed the band's versatility, making it an excellent brutal death metal debut with a slightly unique touch to it.