Artist: Surrender to Suffering
Album: Cruciatum Aeternum
Life is a vicious circle of agony, torment, despair and suffering—while there may be other sensations and emotions in between, in the end, every action and reaction in life leads us to one of those four results. The only time we truly escape the constant cycle of torment and suffering is when we die, giving into death’s promises of respite and relief—empty, black nothingness. If one had to put a soundtrack to the constant battery of pain and torture life subjects mankind to, however, Surrender to Suffering’s debut album would undoubtedly be it. One of the most comprehensively evil displays of deathcore—slamming, brutal, downtempo and more—Cruciatum Aeternum is an unstoppable salvo of pure punishment. Sacrificing nothing in order to drown the listener in layer after layer of suffocating, skin-peeling heaviness, Surrender to Suffering borrow from a plethora of heavy music’s extreme stylings to create one of the most comprehensively abusive experiences the listener will have ever had.
Surrender to Suffering borrow from pretty much any style of heavy music blunt enough to break bone and bruise flesh. Sounding like a cross-section between Oceano’s Depths, Wraiths’ debut EP and a hint of Ingested to keep things moving along, Cruciatum Aeternum is a slamming deathcore release with splashes of downtempo and beatdown, meaning it more than lives up to its name. Percussionist Jordan Mckenzie is a madman behind the kit, slicing deep trenches in the listener’s flesh with devilish blast beats on “Still Born,” while harmonizing with bassist Angus Leslie during the lurid, sludgy breakdowns at the end of “The Abyss” and “Dark Lurker.” Mckenzie’s oscillation between absurd speed and tedious technicality and steamrolling slam-tinted brutality sets the mood for Surrender to Suffering’s dynamic, a constant battle between lacerating, languishing speed and looming, otherworldly heaviness. Where Leslie and Mckenzie excel is serving as a solemn, sturdy low-end and foundation for guitarists Steven Goodfellow and Sam Lobley; heard best on “Dark Lurker” and “Dead Crown,” where the duo range from quick grooves and ruthless riffs to full-on prolapse-inducing, slamming insanity. Even the introduction, “Act I,” ends with an absolutely eviscerating series of hyperdissonant chugs that force the listener to anally evacuate their spine. Together, Surrender to Suffering blend several styles of heaviness in a way that makes it truly hard to categorize—earning them an exceptional ranking when it comes to –core influenced originality and execution.
Where some of Cruciatum Aeternum’s instrumentation is unlike anything the listener has heard before, the same can be said for the gurgles, bellows and shouts from frontman Jake Collins. Collins is unstoppable, dominating the entirety of Cruciatum Aeternum with grisly growls and intense, violent and aggressive lyrical content—making Surrender to Suffering tortuous in every manner, but in the most perfect way a heavy music enthusiast can imagine. Collins finds lyrical excellence in “Dark Lurker” and “The Lord Below,” while his vocals on practically every track Surrender to Suffering provide nothing short of excellent. Each track tells a tale as bleak and manic as Collins’ voice, belligerently beating away at the listener’s sanity by way of their eardrums. Where Collins truly excels is where many of his peers fail—as Collins, frankly, knows when to shut up. Moments of Cruciatum Aeternum where Collins is absent don’t feel empty; rather, they feel carefully placed, strategically written to make the most of Collins’ crushing vocal candor.
Every aspect of Surrender to Suffering’s debut album is coordinate to inflict as much torment as it possibly can during its relatively brief run time. Even while the quantity of the band’s content questions its status as a full length record, the quality and density thereof do not. Even the “breaks,” found in “Act I” and “Act II” are anything but—as the tracks are as eerie and angry as any other on the album. Pure, limitless and punishing pain await the listener, no ifs, ands or buts; Cruciatum Aeternum ensures one thing—the listener will, indeed, surrender to suffering.
For Fans Of: Oceano, The Acacia Strain, Wraiths, Acrania, Ingested, Slaughter to Prevail
By: Connor Welsh