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Slam mutilation - 72%

MutantClannfear, February 11th, 2012

Okay, seriously, what the fuck's up with the cover art? There's a hooker tied and gagged in a bathtub, fine, sure, typical deathcore fare. But somehow, she's covered in blood, and there's fresh blood splattered around the bathtub. Yet the girl doesn't have a scratch on her - all her limbs are in plain sight and clearly still attached to her torso. That's the thing about slam and everything related to it - it's a great genre but can be so fucking stupid sometimes, and not even the encouragable form of stupid, but "I shat my pants" stupid. Shattered Eyes, indeed, don't come off as very smart musicians with Prey of Depravity, but their music is a pretty decent slam/deathcore hybrid, if not an album that gives me the feeling these guys should stick to one of the genres or the other.

First off, I'd like to give the band massive props for exactly how they're playing their genre. Nowadays, if you hear a band labelled as "brutal deathcore", you can expect one of two things - deathcore with slam-esque vocals (Moker, for instance) or technical death metal with breakdowns (e.g. Beneath the Massacre and Eighty Thousand Dead). However, Shattered Eyes, like Begging for Incest, are pretty damn true to the term in that they actually play deathcore, breakdowns and all, with a respectable amount of slams mixed in. There is no compromise at all here for wimps and posers and hall-leavers who do not worship at the International Temple of the $LAM (capitalized out of respect), and as a matter of fact Angel Fucking Ochoa appears as a guest vocalist as if to hammer the point in even further.

I also really love the vocals on this album. They're this really unique wet, slurred, yet muffled inhaled squeal - the closest comparison would be Waking the Cadaver with a bit more strength in execution. I'm mainly calling these out because of the adjective "muffled" - even the raspy, typical deathcore screams on this album sound a lot more suppressed in the mix than most deathcore bands. Where most brutal death metal/deathcore hybrid bands' vocals could be described as "brutal" or "hardcore", these best fit under "tortured", because goddamn, I can imagine the vocalist of Shattered Eyes being the person on the album cover of Prey of Depravity (assuming, of course, that the vocalist is either female or the artwork depicts a male, crossdressing whore). The main effect the vocals have on the album is a sense of panic, a struggle during the deathcore riffs, which is when they're used most often.

Speaking of the deathcore riffs... meh. Sadly, they're the one main thing keeping this good album from being a great album. For one, unlike Begging for Incest, the deathcore riffs aren't very dark in the grand scheme of things (not to mention kind of lacking in bass in the production job - the yummy bass drops that inevitably herald most of the slams are exceptions). They're not dark on the level of, say, The Somatic Defilement-era Whitechapel or Waking the Cadaver, but are more like bands like Ingested and Moker (two other brutal deathcore bands, albeit less slam-influenced ones). These relatively light-hearted riffs make for rather awkward transitions to slams at times, and it seems that at times, when the band failed to find a place to fit their slam, they simply lightened it to make it more like a breakdown, stripping away the slammy pace and replacing it with what's basically a slam with a deathcore beat (I know, it makes me sad just thinking about it ;_;). Making the riffs more BDM-influenced would solve this, and honestly, since quite a few of those deathcore riffs could use a makeover, they might as well do so.

That's pretty much all there is to Prey of Depravity (the bass guitar is practically non-existent, the drums play blast beats during the deathcore riffs, simple deathcore beats for the breakdowns, slam patterns during the slams, and pretty much nothing else), as it's a very retarded album. But hey, I like retarded things, and Shattered Eyes seem to at least be relatively good at mixing two genres that are pretty hard to mesh, so I guess they can be considered idiot savants or whatever. But they seriously need to either cut down on the deathcore riffs or learn a thing or two from darker deathcore albums, because it's fucking horrible to have to see the results of poor little slams being ideologically mangled and castrated just to adapt to a hostile foreign environment.