Artist: The Cambion
Album: Suffer Forever
In its most bare-bones form, a Cambion is an offspring of a demon—a child born from the unholy gnashing of flesh between a mortal man and a succubus. Now, if you dive a little deeper, the story gets a little weirder—if you were to reference the Malleus Maleficarum (the most highly renowned and cited treatise on witches and witchcraft), the word itself is not used, however, it states that an incubus or succubus is incapable of giving birth. In order for the creation of such an offspring—a Cambion—the ejaculate must be obtained (or stolen) from the man and transplanted into a human woman by the hand of the succubus.
Which is a little weird.
Other texts, in the advent of the Malleus Maleficarum, have claimed that such a direct birth is possible and there’s no need for a middle-man (or middle-demon?). All of this isn’t really relevant, it’s a more an if-you-were-wondering kind of thing.
It does draw an interesting comparison, however, to the music of Illinois-based outfit, The Cambion. Much like a mythic Cambion is the amalgam of man and demon, The Cambion is an amalgam between groovy metalcore and raw, ruthless deathcore. The band’s comeback release, Suffer Forever, is proof of that—long awaited proof, at that. Furthermore, Cambions (if that’s even the correct plural) throughout mythology have appeared as villains as readily as noble demi-Gods. This begs the question—on the spectrum of goddamn awesome to villainously vile, where exactly to Illinois’ The Cambion fall? Read on to find out.
Suffer Forever is a tremendously dynamic record. Songs like the record’s opener, “Bloodmoon” are groovy and catchy, highlighting just how well The Cambion can take a straightforward breakdown and give it a contagious twist. Likewise, “Death Rattle” and “Bastard” are more ruthless, with percussionist CJ Rayson deviating from his more fundamental patterns into dizzying fills and fun, ear-catching footwork. “The Horde” is another such example, where Rayson’s drumming serves as the diverse and energetic backbone that allows guitarists Jake Evans and Brian Moore to oscillate between bare-knuckle, bloody-fisted metalcore and cunning, groovy deathcore all within a single track. As they stand, The Cambion find themselves more on the metalcore side of the fence, if you had to “pick a side,” but in truth, Suffer Forever draws from a myriad metallic influences, above and beyond the scope of metal-or-deathcore. “No Pressure” is a solid example of this, with Evans and Moore leading the charge with catchy, bouncy leads that very quickly devolve into bone-busting breakdowns that infuse equal parts heavy hardcore and deathcore in a unique and devastating dynamic. Other cuts, like the introductory one mentioned above, are dancier, bound to build a pit out of thin are, capable of transforming a nursing home into a ‘bow-swinging nightmare. That is The Cambion’s greatest asset—not so much how technical or progressive their musicianship is, but how well varied and diverse it is, such that Suffer Forever’s entire runtime can pass without the listener getting the slightest bit bored.
Just as The Cambion’s instrumental element is intelligently crafted and plentifully varied, the voice of frontman Tyler Stockton is as well. Stockton’s range—while not over-the-top or “next level”—is excellent in its own right, giving each track off Suffer Forever a new and different energy. “Bastard” and “No Pressure” stand among his most ruthless, with the line “I’ll suffer now/You will suffer forever” packing one hell of a punch. Likewise, “The Horde,” and others (but especially “The Horde”) are catchy as all hell—a feat not easily achieved in heavy music. Stockton does all of this while keeping his lyrical content varied and without relying on weirdly-named vocal techniques (zombie highs and tunnel lows, etcetera) as a gimmick to sell his skill. While he might not sound possessed or half-bovine at any point on Suffer Forever, Stockton’s voice is strong, booming and fearsome—what else can you really ask for?
When I saw that The Cambion were touring alongside AngelMaker and Oceano, I’ll be honest, I was perplexed. Based on what I knew of the band from Bad Seed, they seemed a curious fit—and could they really hold their own against some of the biggest names in underground heavy music right now? The answer is a resounding yes, as Suffer Forever is one hell of a record that I absolutely didn’t see coming. Thoroughly entertaining, fun and furiously heavy, Suffer Forever is some of the best solace in suffering you’re likely to find in 2019.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Bodysnatcher, Make Them Suffer, Sentinels
By: Connor Welsh