Artist: We Have Been Compromised
Album: Avarice – EP
The world is composed of two types of people: givers and takers. The givers provide fresh blood and life to the world–bestowing mankind with the ability to grow and move forward as a species; to progress. The takers, however, are leeches, tapped into the bloodstream of humanity and taking every last bit of positivity and energy they can while giving precious little in return. They are a plague, the means by which the world will collapse upon itself. If one had to classify Port Charlotte crushers We Have Been Compromised in one of the two categories, they would undoubtedly fall in the former; as they provide heavy music fanatics around the world with one of the most refreshing takes on manic, misanthropic brutality since Animal or Beacons. We Have Been Compromised draw strength and fuel from all manners of greed, gluttony and selfish incredulity to provide the listener with their debut EP Avarice, an aural onslaught if ever there was one. Avarice is a release that will have listener’s thanking the greedy and sinister around the world–for without their misdoings, there would almost certainly be no fuel for We Have Been Compromised to craft their magnificent, murderous music from.
We Have Been Compromised’s musical dynamic is hard to define, however, if one had to describe it in one word, it would likely be “scathing.” Avarice is intense from start to finish–an instrumental firestorm that, once sparked, consumes everything within sight. Avarice is like a riding lawnmower piloted by the energizer bunny: an energetic, skin-splitting machine that is impossible to slow down, let alone stop–and it is driven by the punchy percussive efforts of Draven Powell. From the first ear-splitting snare crack of “Abandoned,” Powell is pure energy, filling every empty space with bright, splashy cymbals or low, resonant toms. Even as his huge-sounding cymbals and spine-shaking kick drum roam free on “Tyrants,” Powell serves an even greater purpose: he is the backbone, a thick, meaty spine connecting Xavier Lange’s bellowing, brain-melting bass grooves to the furiously fretted efforts of guitarists Christian Dunne and Devin Schuler. The introduction to “Tyrants” is one of the greatest examples of the band’s instrumental syncope throughout the entire EP. As Powell beats away with a steady, chunky candor, Lange let’s loose with a lurid, grimy base groove that winds around Powell’s sturdy kick drum like a noose. Meanwhile, Dunne and Schuler later brilliantly overtop, riffing away with a crushingly contagious nu-metallic riff that starts the unstoppable track off on the appropriate foot. “Tyrants” is not the only track that showcases Dunne and Schuler’s sinister dynamic, however; “Coward” and “Avarice” are both brilliant examples that display Dunne and Schuler roaming from raunchy, thrashy riffing to chest-crushingly heavy breakdowns so smoothly, one would think they were covered in melted butter.
Few bands combine riff-heavy nu metal with throat-ripping deathcore as well as We Have Been Compromised do, but even fewer bands are home to as relentless a vocal presence. We Have Been Compromised double down on their vocal onslaught with two of the scene’s most prodigally talented voices–those of Nick Barton and Zachary Jenckes. Between the two, there is no style left undone and no limit to their lyrical depth and content. Barton and Jenckes are consistently intense and visceral, screeching and bellowing just as strongly on “Abandoned” as they do on “Tyrants,” and every track in between. “Abandoned” and “Avarice” sees the duo at the top of their game lyrically, doing justice to the genre’s favorite topics: bitterness, misanthropy and self-loathing especially. However, “Lucy” may be the dynamic duo’s most diverse vocal offering, as it is packed to the brim with skyscraping screeches and grunted growers as grisly and grotesque as rotting meat. Jenckes and Barton establish a fluid and furious vocal dynamic that lets each vocalist shine on their own while still highlighting their talent for teamwork. The juxtaposed roars and screams on “Lucy” make it clear that there are two vocalists with two individual voices–but the dialectic mid-range roars on “Avarice” blend so brilliantly it almost makes the listener question it.
Avarice is the pinnacle of contemporary heavy music: energetic, heavy, catchy and masterfully produced. Barton and Jenckes are dynamic–able to adapt to Powell’s punchy, pronounced blast beats on “Lucy,” as well as they can roll with Dunne and Schuler’s sickening shred on “Avarice.” Meanwhile, Lange lurks in the shadows–rarely stealing the spotlight, but constantly providing a beautifully brutal low end that makes every slamming, shin-snapping breakdown hit just that much harder. Equal parts Bodysnatcher, Rival and Animal (with a touch of The Last Ten Seconds of Life for good measure) We Have Been Compromised are every ounce the excellence one would expect from Florida’s furious, full-bodied heavy music scene–absolutely refusing to short the listener on one second of insanity.
So the next time you get cut off in traffic, or witness an act of sickening gluttony, resist the urge to get mad–thank them instead. Without their greed, We Have Been Compromised wouldn’t have built the disgust at humanity to craft their marvelous debut, Avarice–a release that lets loose with so much anger and energy, even the most gluttonous fanatics of heavy music will find themselves choking on crushing heaviness.
For Fans Of: Animal, Bodysnatcher, Rival, Beacons, The Last Ten Seconds of Life
By: Connor Welsh