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Brutal and Ridiculous - 88%

andreipianoman, November 12th, 2020

Whenever I see a band labeled as technical brutal death metal, I hope that the technical side is more accentuated than the brutal side. Not to say that I dislike the brutal death metal component, but if overdone in an unprofessional way, it can drain the sound quality and musical relevance altogether. However, I am delighted to discover that the Mexican trio Serocs does a fantastic job at balancing the two. The upcoming EP “Vore” is a head-altering display of complex, technical virtuosity, driven to batter and pulverize the listener every step of the way.

The first thing to draw your attention is certainly the mayhem of it all. As soon as you hit “play”, you find yourself caught in a maelstrom of furious grinding blast-beats, punishing guitar riffage and filthy, guttural death growls of the nastiest sort. The high-octane of each track, blistering speed and corrosive texture of the sound are enough to get any pure death metal fan hooked. Brutality in its purest form! You just feel ambushed, and it will take a while to pull yourself together. But once you get past the initial shock and throw a closer ear to what is actually going on, it becomes clear that the energy is just one of many components that make these guys so exquisite in their craft.

The technical and unusual playing of every band member demonstrates unbelievable proficiency and musical knowledge. While the sound itself is quite typical to a good quality death metal album, the composition breaks all the patterns you can think of. There’s the strange sense of familiarity and confusion going on at the same time, as the sound textures I’m hearing are quite straightforward but the songs themselves are unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Through the ludicrous tempos, a strange approach to progressive song-writing makes its way through. As the speed and blasting maintains its presence throughout most of the run-time, it constantly shifts into different patterns, refusing to settle in any sense of stability. The constant morphing and transitioning is a real challenge to keep track of but it is simultaneously very satisfying and stimulating. Each new riff and rhythmic structure comes with a very well defined and clearly paced sense of groove, easily drawing you in before ripping it all apart again. The dynamic guitar playing forms a sense of movement and entropy that hardly ever ceases. The drum work constantly alternates between setting a foundation and leaping in the fore-front with flurries of cymbal work, transitioning and oddly shaped patterns that go through the entire kit withing seconds. In between, the bass always plays on its own, coming through with an aggressive, slapping sound that fully separates itself from the guitar riffs and allows it to build its own voice in the twister of abrasive sensations. But most surprisingly, while each instrument seems to be doing its own thing, they always do it in sync and end up coming together as a whole a lot better than I would expect from an album this complex.

Now bear in mind, this is a brutal death metal album so despite all the cohesiveness, flow and intricate structures, it is still the sheer energy and aggression that stays in the spotlight. While all the more subtle details in the composition constantly permeate the sound, it usually takes an active effort to pick up on them. Otherwise you might just be lost in amorphous chaos that constantly rearranges itself. It is not for the faint-hearted. But there is also a melodic aspect to it. A couple of guest solos, though mainly focused on shredding and speed, bring a very welcome change in frequency, allowing the soundscape to turn towards a more refined and polished substance. Add the fact that the third track, “Shallow Vaults” is a brief atmospheric interlude making use of clean guitars, and this release actually shapes out to stir some diversity.

“Vore” is nowhere near as monochrome as I initially expected, with each song finding ways to slightly differentiate itself from the previous. The addition of a couple of instrumental demos from back in 2011 completes the bill with a far more raw and primitive production sound but also less complexity and crammed details, allowing a bit more breath-space. When putting it all together, the bombardment of brutality and changing patterns is the centerpiece of their sound but it is delivered in an engaging form that keeps them on the track of musical relevance. I was filled with respect after just one listen. But that’s far from enough if you want to actually dissect the different moving pieces that come together in this record. So if you find yourself intrigued, go for round 2.

Originally written for The Metal Observer