Artist: Aversions Crown
Have you wondered what it might be like when—or if we encounter alien life? Will we befriend it, and form a truce beyond our species that spans galaxies and brings about a new era of peace and proliferation of technological and social advancement? Could we learn from their immensely sophisticated and advanced lifestyles and inventions? Would we progress? Or would they be less advanced—and if so, what would we do then?
As much as we might not readily admit it, and as much as we might claim otherwise, our history as human beings speaks louder than our statements: there would be slavery. There would be war. There would be violence, and it would end in xenocide.
The eradication of a whole species; the deafening cry of a population screaming in terrified unison and the equally-deafening silence that follows—that is the onslaught that awaits the listener in Aversions Crown’s aptly titled 2017 full-length, Xenocide. Intelligent and oppressive throughout its duration, Aversions Crown present an out-of-this-world blend of immense aggression and tedious, tremendous technicality that hits like a freight train but is as carefully crafted as a Maserati. The best of both worlds, Xenocide sees Aversions Crown continuing their trek to the stars, creating an album that soars above the works of their peers.
Aversions Crown, since their inception, have been a band praised for their ability to meld mind-melting, manic and murderous heaviness with subtle, stellar technical edges and hints of atmosphere that add extra heft to their moments of climactic aggression. Xenocide is no different—if anything, it’s even more intense. Percussionist Jayden Mason is a monster—if his recently published drum-playthrough for “The Soulless Acolyte” can’t convince you, then his performance on “The Oracles of Existence” almost certainly will. His feet fly as if they were fueled by lightning—with hands so fast they’d make a pickpocket look like a snail. Where speed is needed, Mason has absolutely no qualms in giving the listener exactly what they’re looking for; however, that isn’t all Mason can do. “Odium” sees Mason working with guitarists Chris Cougan and Mick Jeffery to create moments of haunting atmosphere that plunge into soul-suckig brutality relentless enough to end an entire civilization—let alone end and album. This dynamic is what defines the nearly-an-hour-long Xenocide—Mason’s drumming is a tachycardic heartbeat to a war machine armed with the twin axes of Cougan and Jeffery, whose furious fretwork could level mountains and shake the earth to it’s core. “Erebus” is eviscerating; a pummeling display of power and punishment, while “Cycles of Haruspex” and “The Oracles of Existence” display speed and technicality alongside straightforward aggression. Ranging from earnest, honest, bludgeoning brutality to ethereal moments of breath-taking beauty that lift the listener up only to dangle them over a cliff and promptly drop them, Xenocide is the band taking a dynamic they’re practically synonymous with and building it up even more, adding meat, thickness and density to make every song satiating and satisfying.
Where Aversions Crown’s instrumentation paints a punishing and powerful scene for an epic battle between species domestic and galactic alike, it is the voice of frontman Mark Poida that bring the tale of Xenocide to life in grim, grisly fashion. Poida’s roars are thick and dense, slathering the speedy and sinister musicianship prevalent on Aversions Crown’s latest album with a coat of grime that could drown an entire civilization. Songs like “Erebus” showcase this right from the get-go, as does “Prismatic Abyss,” the first full song Poida’s powerful voice rears its head on. Meanwhile, “Ophiophagy” demonstrates the shrill, soul-sucking highs that Poida made his trademark during his tenure in I, Valiance—screeching, scathing and faster than the speed of light, Poida’s prowess is second-to-none, proving he can spit syllables with speed that would make Twista blush, yet manage to push every sound out of his throat with raw, gut-splitting anger and energy. That might be Poida’s best asset—his energy—as he adds personality to power on every track on Xenocide, making the mellow moments where his voice is absent (rare though they are) truly ethereal, such that when his voice kicks back in, the listener’s ears truly feel as if they’re being torn in two.
Aversions Crown have a reputation to uphold. After nearly untouchable albums like Servitude and Tyrant, the band’s fans—and the band, at this point—expect little short of deathcore magnificence, and with Xenocide, that’s just what the band provide. While Xenocide might take a couple full listens to be able to digest in full, once the listener develops an appetite for it, there’s nothing else that can really quell their hunger. Poida’s voice is powerful, and the band’s musicianship is on another level, combining the speed of Servitude with the stellar, soul-smothering, abyssal heaviness of Tyrant. Fifty minutes of fury that engulf the listener in flames of flawless deathcore, Xenocide is the mass murder of mediocrity, as these Australian ultra-heavyweights continue to up their sound and dynamic, renovating the deathcore genre in the process.
For Fans Of: Shadow of Intent, Oceano, Nexilva, Within Destruction
By: Connor Welsh