How do you define “heavy?” Is it the sheer, unmovable weight of an object? Like that of the steadfast anvil or an Egyptian Sphinx? Or is the emotional burden an action or sentiment carries–The motive behind killing a man, or the logic behind a harsh dictator’s slaughter of thousands? No matter what your perspective of “heavy” might be, the latest release from brutalizing deathcore legends Grimus surely satisfies it. After release two enormously well received and near-perfect EPs, the New Jersey quintet is back with their debut full-length release, Omnicide. Packed with vocals as sinister as the mind of a murderer, slams as crushing as ten anvils, and riffs as mysterious and mesmerizing as the Sphinx, Omnicide is a release which truly lives up to its name, as it devours all in its path on its way to the listener’s ears.
Omnicide is an instrumental juggernaut of truly unimaginable magnitude. From the very beginning of “Without Master,” Grimus display nothing but complete musical mastery. This is true of the furious, unstoppable fretwork–exemplified on “I, Destroyer” and “The Vulture” especially–which makes itself known through both intricate, looping riffs and stunning, soaring solos. The guitars, however, are not to be outdone by the drums, which provide the foundation upon which entire instrumental empires are crafted. “The Hut of Extinction” is archetypical of this: the entire song is spent weaving stunning, Mach-speed drumming together with spiraling, looping and roaring riffs. These two elements weave themselves together, strengthened by masterfully quick bass work, only to be brought crashing down on the listeners head with one of the most booming, ulcerative slams the listener will have ever heard. “Draped in Fear” makes marked use of a similar tactic, slamming crushing, groovy bass against stellar, spiraling riffs to create a vortex of unimaginable density and intricacy for the listener to find themselves lost in.
Grimus’ relentless onslaught of back-breaking heaviness doesn’t end with the instrumental aspects of Omnicide, however. Vocally, Omnicide is just as crushing as it is instrumentally. Throughout the entire album, guttural, devastating bellows and harsh, mid-ranged screams attack the listener’s ears, giving them a rest only for the guitars to wreak unstoppable levels of havoc in their stead. This combination of low, murky growls and harsh, hardcore-influenced shouts prevents Grimus from being vocally monotonous, while allowing the vocals to brilliantly compliment–or contrast–their instrumental backdrop. “Decimation” makes a brilliant use of this slight vocal oscillation to create a variety of entrancing atmospheres for the listener to take solace in. Meanwhile, tracks like “The Hut of Extinction” use a consistent row-range growl to add extra heaviness to the already back-busting slams and spine shattering levels of heaviness. However, even in spite of the seemingly endless attacks of slams, breakdowns and riff-heavy grooves throughout Omnicide, the listener is still not completely overwhelmed.
The true brilliance of Grimus’ dynamic is such that at any given point of the album, Omnicide is neither ethereal and blissful, nor top-heavy and unstable. The album builds to a series of climactic slams and breakdowns in such a way where just when it seems as if the weight is unbearable, and the track can’t possibly get any heavier, it collapses, crushing the listener. “The Hut of Extinction” and “I.V.A.N.” do this brilliantly, hitting the listener so hard, it feels as if they’ll prolapse. “I.V.A.N.” does so to such a point that the track has to give a lengthy reprieve afterwards, in order to re-build some semblance of structure which the next devastating, unstoppable slam can topple upon the listener’s eardrums. This is not the only facet of Grimus’ undeniable brilliance, however. One might think that the constant build-and-destroy cycle might get predictable, or, at the very least, boring. This is far from true, as the vocal element helps keep the atmosphere fresh and enjoyable, while the guitars range from a steady, pulsing low end only to–out of nowhere–lurch into an almost djenty, progressive tone and send the listener launching into the bowels of an almost galactic atmosphere. Between the unstoppable slams and unpredictable song structure, Omnicide devours any and all deathcore albums in its path to greatness.
If you’re of the opinion that deathcore is “all played out,” then you obviously haven’t had the chance to listen to Grimus. Omnicide does nothing but engulf any misconceptions about the genre that the listener might have, disemboweling them with gut-splitting slams and bone-shattering breakdowns. The sheer amount of heaviness prevalent on Omnicide is hard to put into words alone–so the next time the hunger for true deathcore mastery has you in its clutches, try taking a bite out of Omnicide.
10/10 (And I wish I could give it more)
For Fans Of: Oceano, The Mortis Sermon, Acrania, Infant Annihilator, Thy Devourer
By: Connor Welsh