Album: Annexation (EP)
As far as I’m concerned, there are two kinds of people in this world: people who scream from the movie in movie theatres, and people who scream at the movie in movie theatres. Let’s take my favorite example: the horror film. There are the people who jump out of their seat, screeching and shocked from the gruesome display of gory abandon before their eyes, or there are people who are too busy yelling, “why the hell did you walk into the dark room in the first place!” to even be scared. However, AdiaphorA’s latest EP, Annexation, will quell even the second group of moviegoers and film connoisseurs’ cries. Filled with near-palpable amounts of haunting tension and only the most extreme and gut-wrenching grooves, Annexation is an EP which strikes fear and awe into the mind and heart of the listener, rendering them practically incapable of doing anything else but sitting back and listening.
“Behold the Structure” is the figurative don’t walk towards the noise moment that AdiaphorA provide the listener—a warning, if you will, that things are going to get rough. This warning, however, is purely based on formalities, as, after sheer seconds, Annexation plunges into the dark, murky depths of progressive, downtuned heaviness that AdiaphorA are known for. The instrumentation on Annexation is responsible for a mood so persistent in it’s pitch black and suffocating nature that, even with such a short run time, the EP still feels dense and packed with devastation. Bulldozing, pummeling percussion cracks the listener’s ribs and breaks open their chest, while winding, grimy bass riffs and completely filthy grooves worm their way inside. Once inside, there is simply no saving the listener. Furiously fretted sections of shred grow side-by-side with stunningly heavy and soul-slamming breakdowns which function as if a parasitic host to the listener’s head, getting caught there and taking over their brain entirely. “Enlightened Ones” features several of these moments, with grooves that are so bouncy, and riffs that cut so deeply they seem simply engineered to get caught in the listener’s cranium and stay lodged there for days.
Annexation is a short EP–as such, these grooves and riffs don’t have much time to incubate, so to speak. They either need some sort of catalyst, or they’ll wither away and die, taking the listener’s interest with them. Fortunately, AdiaphorA have just the enzyme to enable such a catastrophic takeover of the listener’s sentience. Annexation is just as vocally aggressive as it is instrumentally driving. While the absolutely riveting and skin-rending musicianship is strong in and of itself, it works in a one-two punch to deliver the vocals straight into the listener’s head. This vocal attack–which ranges from a beefy, low-end growl to a visceral, high-pitched screech (and everything in between) is what truly hits home, and grows from the seeds of misanthropy laid by the lurid and violent guitars and the monstrous, booming bass.
It’s this dynamic–a dialectic use of vocals and instrumentation—which set AdiaphorA apart from the efforts of their peers. Even with such a short span to do so, the band craft a catchy and demoralizing experience so expertly that the listener feels as if they’ve just gone through an entire full-length release of densely packed and expertly written music. Annexation’s self-titled track, for example, is comprised of a series of tempo-changes and riveting riffs that are so enthralling the listener feels like the par-for-the-course three and a half minute run time passed in a second, but could have been a lifetime. The EP creates a chasm, of sorts, where time seems to get distorted, allowing the listener to enjoy the release thoroughly after one play through, but providing them the energy and opportunity to give it multiple spins. While at first this dense and devastatingly heavy dynamic seems like it might be a detriment to the band, once the listener warms up to it, they release that AdiaphorA are truly masters of their craft–a craft which includes infecting the listener’s mind with only the raunchiest riffs and crunchiest breakdowns.
If walking towards the mysterious noise, or exploring the moon-lit forest is the horror-movie equivalent to AdiaphorA’s latest release, then count me in. While it comes from subtle, tumultuous beginnings, Annexation morphs—rapidly—into a beast to be reckoned with. Armed with dynamic, diverse vocals and nothing but the heaviest, most progressive instrumentation the genre has to offer, it seems as if the only downfall this release faces is that—like most horror movies—the run time is just a little too short.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Every Hand Betrayed, Impale the Betrayer, Prime Meridian
By: Connor Welsh