Artist: Gamma Sector
Album: Sanctum of Vivisection
Most fields of human progression rely on experimentation for progress—this is true of just about every subdivision of science and mathematics, but especially true for medicine. Countless amounts of knowledge, technology and procedural skill would still have yet to be gained were it not for the observation, dissection and experimentation on scientific specimens. The progression of our species depends on it.
It’s as true now as it ever has been; modern mankind is built on the observed mutilation and deconstruction of other things. Be it societies, bodies, plants, machines or elemental agents, our progress as living creatures comes at the expense of something else. That’s a facet of the human condition, plain and simple. On Sanctum of Vivisection, Gamma Sector create something in a similar fashion. Progressing at the expense of a careful dismantling of their own previous efforts and the works of their peers, Gamma Sector’s work on Sanctum of Vivisection obliterates the likes of Nex Omne and their other prior releases, dwarfing the releases from many of their contemporaries to boot. Sanctum of Vivisection is a punishing display of no-holds-barred atmospheric-meets-progressive-meets-technical deathcore that is a deep, devastating breath of fresh air.
Sanctum of Vivisection, in many ways, is a direct continuation of Gamma Sector’s debut full-length record, Nex Omne. It still has bone-splitting slams, spine-shaking breakdowns, lacerating riffs and the half-prog, half-tech take on slamming deathcore—that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the band’s complexity, and the fashion in which they write and release their brand of devastating deathcore. Percussionist Denis Tuohy is still demonic behind the kit, hammering out scathing blast-beats and mind-numbing fills with as much speed as he has precision. The album’s opening number, or the crushing follow-up, “Lost In Elm” are excellent evidence of this. Meanwhile, the album’s lead single, “Leatherbound,” serves as stellar proof of Tuohy working with bassist Gavyn Clark to create a crushing foundation for some of the record’s heaviest moments. Clark’s low end is immolating, smothering the listener beneath tons of molten, gritty abuse. “Clavicula Nox” is Clark’s bass at its finest, while “Conjuring Hur” or “As the Sky Bleeds” sees Clark working diligently with guitarists Jarrod Foushee and Derek Doughterty to bring forth fretwork that is relentlessly heavy without sacrificing speed or intricacy. Foushee and Doughtery give Gamma Sector the instrumental spice that makes them stand out. While Tuohy’s drumming is absurd and Clark’s bass has punch, Foushee and Doughtery’s work as Gamma Sector’s dynamic duo of riffsmiths demands it’s own praise. Even the perhaps too-long interlude, “Scarlett Rose,” is mesmerizing. Meanwhile, “Sanctum of Vivisection” is a brutalizing behemoth and “Conjuring Her” is a gritty, blackened hit that sees Foushee and Doughtery adding to their already expansive array of proficiencies. The take-home is that the band’s instrumental element is several steps above what it was on Nex Omne, and even more steps above the works of Gamma Sector’s contemporaries.
When Gamma Sector began to make waves after the release of their debut, much of what earned them their early social media “hype” was the fact that their frontman, Daniel Burris—still in his mid-teens—was juvenile in comparison to many of the genre’s most known vocalists. While he may have grown nominally in age, he has done so exponentially in vocal prowess. Sanctum of Vivisection is a titan of vocal diversity and excellence. Even alongside features from the rightfully renowned Dickie Allen and David Simonich, Burris’ range and endurance is masterful, with songs like “Leatherbound” and “Conjuring Her” to stand as a testament to his diversity. And that’s really…it. It wouldn’t be wrong to go into great detail and descriptive analysis of Burris’ lows, highs and guttural bellows, but it also isn’t needed—Burris’ voice speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes, with Sanctum of Vivisection serving as a proud entry into contendership for underground heavy music’s most masterful vocalists.
Sanctum of Vivisection is growth and grotesque brutality all in one—a means of crafting something beautiful by brute-force evisceration. Nearing an hour of pure punishment, Gamma Sector’s label debut is an experience—no, a lesson—in creativity meets crushing deathcore that it would be foolish to skip.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Infant Annihilator, Ingested, Hollow Prophet
By: Connor Welsh