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A return to form - 90%

felixrr, March 17th, 2023

Death Toll 80k might not have the biggest discography, but they sure make every release count. However, after the amazing debut, their second full-length was a slight letdown for me. This EP shows that they're still around and have some steam left.

DT80k have always been very riff-focused, which hasn't changed and it still works as well as ever. This time around though, the slicing guitars are accompanied by a very thick, fuzzy and omnipresent bass. This helps push the sound more towards a new era perhaps. Not as purely raw and ear-piercing as their previous efforts, instead more crushing and bludgeoning. The tempo is a bit slower-paced, too, the "death" part of deathgrind still being very much a thing. Some of the crossover thrash, crust and d-beat bits and pieces you should expect from this band by now are here, too. Some new influences can be heard, what immediately came to my mind was Bolt Thrower, particularly with the slower, marching riffs and chord progressions overlaying the fuzzy bass tone in tracks 3, 6 and 7. Some later-era Wormrot should be given creidt, and, at times, even Panzer Division Marduk. This brings me to the vocals, which are certainly the band's best so far. As inarticulate and unintelligible as ever, the grunts are at least a bit varied, and are complemented by pretty good shrieks as well. If you look into the lyrics, they also show progression from brief descriptions of various issues to now focusing on more personal issues, social unrest, freedom and hope.

The occasional samples are gone, so the eleven minutes are uninterrupted and the band managed to find a good balance between a good flow and distinct tracks. I have no bone to pick with the production either, so in my eyes this further cements DT80k's position as a somewhat overlooked yet top-notch project.