REVIEW: Bereavement – Judgment [EP/2015]


Artist: Bereavement  

Album: Judgment – EP


After you die, you have to answer for every deed you’ve done in your life—imagine it kind of like a parent-teacher conference. For every good deed, you get a “gold star,” or a point against your damnation. For every bad deed, a decade in hellfire, or an hour at the whipping block. The kindness of what—or who—determines whether you’ve been “naughty” or “nice” depends; however one thing is certain. If that overseer of your afterlife is Illinois’ Bereavement, you’re fucked. With their debut EP, Judgment, Bereavement are more than just the judge of your fate—they are the jury and executioner as well. Five tracks of ultra-heavy, mind-melting downtempo deathcore not only lacerating enough to kill you, but violent and hateful enough to determine your fate in the afterlife as well.

Where some bands excel with sharp, slicing instrumentation and clean-cutting grooves, Bereavement are not one of them. If their lethal breed of dissonant, low, slow brutality were a guillotine, it would be a rusty, dull, jagged monstrosity slamming down on the listener’s neck ten times before it severed head from shoulders. Percussionist Mike Zoller is a master of sludgy grooves, with punchy patterns reminiscent of traditional hardcore that meet in a head-on collision with immense, insanity-inducing doom influences. Zoller beats on his kit with the zeal of an entire army, with patterns like those at the climax of “Purge” powerful enough to send entire countries into war. Zoller’s vicious percussion meets beautifully with bassist Kolbe Albin.  Albin ensures each thwack of Zoller’s toms and thud of his kick drum is ten times meatier and more manic, coated in gallons of gloriously filthy bass tone. Albin adds heaps of hellacious, grisly grime to otherwise unstoppable breakdowns like those defining “Judgement II” and “Sub Rosa,” even if Albin’s bass itself is smothered by guitarists Jake Deloera and Ryan Hodge. Deloera and Hodge smother the listener in raw, meaty dissonance that sounds like The Hulk and Paul Bunyan swinging sledge hammers at dead horses. Primarily, the duo specialize in downtuned, dismal chugging—but they do expertly induce energetic, enraging grooves that are bound to make the listener see red. Moments like the bouncy beef-fest in “Purge” that drops into a lobotomizing slam out of nowhere could turn the Taj Mahal into a terror-filled mosh pit that would result in pure murder.

Bereavement’s comprehensively heavy yet cunning and creative take on downtempo deathcore extends well past their raunchy, writhing instrumentation. Frontman Vince Giammona lets loose with grisly, thick low growls and shouts that are a perfect compliment to Bereavement’s otherwise low and groovy display of downtuned devastation. Giammona’s work on “Purge” and “Sub Rosa” display not only his devilish range, but his immaculate ability to flow with whatever instrumental backdrop Bereavement provide. “Purge” is an exceptionally eviscerating experience with the addition of Choke’s Jason Frazier, adding a different style and range that is skin-peeling to say the least–however, even in spite of Frazier’s furious vocal addition, Giammona remains the center of attention. Giammona’s gurgles over the groovy, fluid midsection to “Purge” display his awe-inspiring stamina—while his no-holds-barred belting on “Judgement II” is a ruthless display of pure power, knocking them flat to the ground and crushing their skull against the pavement.

Bereavement are not subtle, nor are they technical or progressive. They don’t send the listener skyrocketing space-bound with stellar djenting grooves or atmospheric solos. They have one purpose, and they fulfill it with lethal efficacy: to annihilate the listener and redefine “heavy” in the process. Judgment is an EP that flows into the listener’s head like water, but settles like quik-rete. Before “Judgement II” is even done, the listener is likely unable to keep their head up–be it either from excessive head banging or the overwhelmingly dense nature of Bereavement’s unique brutality. Combining groove and gore with no lament or rest, this crushing quintet stand before a figurative dam of heavy music and crack it open such that it engulfs the listener, washing them away with no trace of their existence. Bereavement prove that even after death, you will know no peace; only Judgment.



For Fans Of: Black Tongue, Immoralist, Demolisher, Bodysnatcher

By: Connor Welshfilthy bass tone  his kick drum is ten times meatier and more manic, coated in gallons of glorioislyged monstrosity alamming