Artist: Austin Deathtrip
Album: How I Spanked Your Mother
These days, bands and styles oscillate and shift as often as the tides—with a constant emphasis on progression and change, it can be easy to get lost in the almost-incestuous sea of “this”-core and “progressive/technical that”-core. Where does down-tempo begin and beatdown end? Not cast aspersion on the bands that are providing fresh, furious lifeforce into the scene, preventing stagnation, but it begs the question—how much is too much? Have we ventured so far out into the sea of almost-but-not-quite-the-same genres that we as music enthusiasts can no longer see the shore? Not while there are still bands like Oldenburg, Germany’s Austin Deathtrip, and their full length behemoth How I Spanked Your Mother. Taking classically-influenced death metal song structure and fretwork and combining it with punishing, brute-force hardcore heaviness, How I Spanked Your Mother is a throwback “classic” deathcore from the days of As Blood Runs Black’s Allegiance and Dead to Fall’s Villainy and Virtue—a throwback which will leave more than the listener’s mother spanked.
Like any testament built to the deathcore greats of yester-year, How I Spanked Your Mother is built on riffs. Catchy, technically capable riffs pervade through every aspect of Austin Deathtrip’s debut album. These are cast brilliantly overtop of punchy, fast-paced percussion and driving dynamic bass guitar that serve as a sound, sturdy foundation for the otherwise magnificent fretwork of guitarist Jim Austin. Whether its snippets of soul-searing shred and sweeps like those found throughout “Sheol,” or the crunchy, groove-tinted riffs on “Six Levels Below,” the fretwork is a furious, yet dynamic aspect to How I Spanked Your Mother that provides an ever-changing and fluid aspect to the album without getting bogged down in over-the-top technicality or caught up in monotonous, chug-laden breakdowns and repetitious down-tuned djent-ing. A perfect example of this is the album’s title track, “How I Spanked Your Mother.” Built on scaffolds of rollicking, blazing-fast kick drum and shrill, skin-splitting vocals, the constant, ever-so-slight oscillation from riff-to-brain-splitting-riff keep the listener at the edge of their seat, waiting to see what Austin will come up with next.
However, while Austin Deathtrip’s penchant for shred and the furiously fretted metallic song structure is abundant throughout How I Spanked Your Mother, so is their penchant for the relentlessly heavy. This is clear in the jarring slams and brooding, bitter breakdowns in “Vermillion Downpour” or “Austin Tribe”—the latter featuring prolapse-inducing tempo-changes that would make slam legends Ingested proud. While Austin Deathtrip are more than capable of crafting shreddy, technically masterful tracks, they are also adept at assaulting the listener with unstoppable—and at times unexpected—heaviness that will clock the listener so cleanly in the mouth, it might just leave their jaw dislocated.
Among all the intense instrumentation and visceral, ear-splitting vocal work, there does exist room for improvement for these German giants. While they do what they do exceptionally well, it is at times monotonous and slightly tedious. Potions of the album—“Shadow Archetype” and “Demon of Gadara” in particular—seem relatively unremarkable amongst the highlight reel that makes up the rest of How I Spanked Your Mother. That isn’t to say these tracks are bad—far from it—it is simply to say that they don’t seem to do anything new or bring anything additional to the band’s stellar dynamic of driving riffs and blazing blast beats or skull-shaking slams. However, when Austin Deathtrip are on, they are on and at the top of their game—this is abundantly evident in the opening portions of “Spectre in the Mirror,” or throughout all of “Vermillion Downpour”: the former of which has one of the catchiest riffs the listener will have ever heard.
So what is it you get when you combine furiously fretted, immersive guitar with lecherous, leaden heaviness? Well, in a nutshell, you get Austin Deathtrip’s nostalgia-tinted release, How I Spanked Your Mother. While it does find itself stumbling over the potholes of monotony towards the end of the release, How I Spanked Your Mother is still an immersive and enthralling throwback to the deathcore that veterans of the genre will know and love—the same deathcore that many of them have been waiting to see return to the scene since it inexplicably left in the first place.
For Fans Of: As Blood Runs Black, The Black Dahlia Murder, Rivers of Nihil, Parkway Drive, Riffs.
By: Connor Welsh