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I used to hate this band with all my heart. After hearing a few songs from "Amidst the Bloodshed", their 2008 album, I simply passed them off as a Waking The Cadaver/Emmure wannabe on steroids. However, something made me come back to this band and give them another chance. I have no idea what it was, but I want to give that feeling a big "fuck you".
This single consists of two songs that would later be on the new album, Malevolence: "New Age Holocaust" and "Predetermined Path". When you ignore the typical flaws that plague deathcore as a whole, this really isn't bad...not that that's saying anything.
Let's start with the vocalist. Have you ever heard Disfiguring the Goddess? This is basically DtG with a bit more personality put into the vocals. The growls are low, but that doesn't mean they're perfect. Sometimes, when he's going as guttural as he can, he *literally* sounds like a pig. Not in the cool pornogrind way, no - literally like a pig shoveling dirt up with its nose. It lacks technique, rhythm, and hooking ability. This was a major problem on Amidst the Bloodshed, but they're almost entirely absent here. Another problem is the fact that highs are nowhere to be found - the yelling growls ARE, for all intents and purposes, his highs. There's little variation in the "highs", but there's something about them that drags you in. They're mysteriously close to Waking The Cadaver's vocals on that band's latest album, Beyond Cops. Beyond God, but they're a lot more refined; they still have the metal "feel" to them.
The guitars on the first song, "New Age Holocaust"...damn, they're a lot better than last time, and they like mixing sweeps with tremolos and groove. This makes me happy. Of course, that is, when they're not performing some cliche breakdown to impress the scene kids. The breakdown in both songs is an interesting case. As the guitars stop suddenly to create the "chugging" effect, the vocalist's voice breaks through. It's catchy, yeah, but no less annoying. The near-entirety of the second song here, "Predetermined Path", is a fucking breakdown. This makes me sad, because the first song on this single reminds me that this band really can make themselves not suck. So I'm indifferent.
Like every other deathcore band in existence, the bass guitar is a myth here; a wild creature, said to appear sometimes in talented bands in a genre called "death metal". Technically, there is a bass guitar here (I heard it once), but it's so low-tuned, it sounds like the guitar equivalent of pornogrind vocals. Even then, when you're able to tell what the hell it's doing, it just turns out to be going up two or three notes at a time hitting quarter notes...exhilirating. The drums, however, are pretty sweet. They sound triggered, honestly, but the drummer comes up with catchy, dance-ish beats that keep the music from dragging, which wouldn't be needed (this is deathcore, anyway), but it adds a nice touch. Other than the aforementioned flaws, the only one that doesn't have to do with the musical composition itself is the mixing. The production is clean and refined for the guitars, drums, and even the bass, but the vocals are buried under it all, and even then they added a "scratchy-transmission" effect to it to weaken it even further. The end result is that the band tries to pacify its greatest strength. That's a big no-no, my friends.
Overall, this band has improved, but that isn't saying much. The vocalist doesn't snarl like a rabid pig, and there's not as much br00tal breakdownage, but this band still has a lot of flaws that need to be polished. Not that I think that this band will ever change to the will of its fans, but still...