Artist: At Rest
Album: The Perversion of Morality – EP
Sometimes, the things we love most leave us behind. Like everything in this world, they grow old; their spirits overstay their welcome within their flesh embodiment and they die; they exist no more, they continue forth in this plane of reality no longer. They no longer strain the mortal coil—they’re put to rest.
But just because we’re done with them doesn’t mean they’re done with us.
Case in point: the latest of many bands responsible for the primordial molding of deathcore, At Rest, and their reincarnation in a new, vicious and viscerally abusive form—manifested in their comeback EP, The Perversion of Morality. Technically immaculate and a testament to terrifyingly heavy and haunting deathcore, The Perversion of Morality is murderous and relentless without reprieve and above reproach. With their bombastic—and unexpected—2017 release, At Rest prove that not only were they adept at shaping the tastes of many young heavy music fanatics back in “the day,” they’re just as adept at annihilating their eardrums now.
At Rest are instrumentally complicated and creative, yet simultaneously straightforward and skull-splitting. Songs like the labyrinthine “Dance of the Witch” or “The Bearer of Fear” showcase their ability to be technically immaculate—with drums racing along at a mile-per-minute pace, shredding flesh from bone with lacerating and lurid precision, while guitarists Nick DeRosa and Ray Frusco not only manage to keep track, but absolutely annihilate the listener with hyper-aggressive riffs, gut-shredding grooves and breakdowns that come out of nowhere to split the listener in twain. Meanwhile, the lengthier foray into forceful aggression found in “A Modest Proposal” is truthfully anything but modest; as DeRosa and Frusco are flawless in their delivery of nostalgic, New Jersey-based near-nuclear scales of acoustic annihilation that stems forth from their slam-tinted penchant for punishing breakdowns. DeRosa and Frusco masterfully capture the rose-tinted hues of horrific, hell-sent heaviness that made deathcore in the late 2000’s such a remarkable and immersive experience, while adding something new and contemporary that allows The Perversion of Morality to keep its footing in a treacherous and trendy sea of over-produced breakdowns and back-splitting, bone-gnashing and almost-over-the-top displays of leaden heaviness. The duo write oscillating, conversational back-and-forth leads and grooves that play off of each other beautifully (“Dance of the Witch” is as mesmerizing as the name might imply), while also managing to be ruthlessness in its most pure and unfiltered form—so when it comes from yesteryear’s deathcore pioneers making an arguably overdue comeback, what more can you honestly ask for?
The neo-traditional atmosphere of pure, putrid punishment brought to life by At Rest’s expert instrumentalists is capitalized on and given fervor and ferocity by the efforts of frontman Jimmy Allan. Allan goes all-out on practically every second of every track, from his first fearsome howls on The Perversion of Morality all the way until it reaches a haunting, bone-chilling close. With shrill, screeching highs on “Undressed for Death” oddly reminiscent of Salt the Wound’s Carnal Repercussions or The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad, yet lows on “A Modest Proposal” (and indeed the latter portions of “Undressed for Death”) that are unlike anything else in Allan’s arsenal. He manages to bring energy and catchiness to a style that lends itself more to brute force and anger—which isn’t to say he’s lacking in either—but his creative capacities and ability to weave around Frusco and DeRosa’s furious fretwork is nothing short of incredible. In this fashion, every song on The Perversion of Morality tells an engaging story (even when you can’t tell what, exactly, Allan is saying) that defies lyricism but rather relies on the intricacy of the music and vocals working together to capture the listener’s attention and interest. In a genre that was founded on verging towards the extremes of vocal and instrumental intensities, At Rest capture that intensity better than most.
For a band who’s been “out of the game” for some time, At Rest take to being back in the thick of heavy music as if they’d never taken a leave of absence. Given their deceptive name, there is very little that’s restful about At Rest or their 2017 comeback release, The Perversion of Morality. Powerful, dynamic song structure blends and melds with masterfully written transitions into atmosphere and awe-inspiring majesty. While The Perversion of Morality might be a little shorter than many would want after so long without anything new from the group, each song is a full, engaging adventure of its own (and most clock in at or above 5 minutes long). At Rest are more than a band back for a quick buck or to play off of the nostalgic love of deathcore-kids turned into dad-core grown-ups. They’re restoring new, rejuvenating energy to the genre when its on the verge of making a full-blown return—giving it life as it arises from a tedious slumber.
For Fans Of: Jerome, I Shot the Sheriff, Oceano, Lorna Shore
By: Connor Welsh