Album: Wasteland – EP
A flash of incendiary white light pours in through your windows, lasting only for a second, followed by perhaps three seconds of absolute silence. It hangs in the air like a fog—until a deafening roar shakes your house, shaking you from your bed and practically liquefying your insides. You bolt over to your window, draw back the curtains and shake off the fragments of fractured window pane to reveal absolute decimation. Your neighbors’ houses lie in ruin, green grass and pavement is now a mosaic of scorched earth—in the blink of an eye, your neighborhood, a pleasant suburban enclave, has been reduced to rubble. What happened? The latest EP from Ontario’s overlords of heavy, Continent. Wasteland is a collection of the heaviest, most abrasive and over-the-top deathcore that Canada—and the rest of the developed world—has to offer, attacking the listener with just over sixteen minutes of music so intense, it could turn Fort Knox into dust.
That flash of light—as bright as ten lightning bolts and hotter than hellfire—is a testament to the sheer intensity of Continent’s crushing instrumentation. No single instrumental element on Wasteland is half-assed: from the first sharp crack of the snare to the haunting echo of the final resounding chug, every note is a full-force, heavyweight assault on the listener’s sanity. Percussionist Chris Austin Ross serves as the operator—the driving force—behind Continent’s hate-fueled deathcore monstrosity. Ross levels any obstacle in his path, unleashing a constant stream of beatdown-influence down-tempo drumming that is neither overtly flashy or dull; rather is simply low, looming and lurid. Ross’ demonic low end is further amplified by the addition of grime-covered, grotesque grooves from bassist Dakoda Sinderly, who can be heard snapping and slinking alongside Ross’ rampaging kick drum, shaking the listener’s ribcage with every strike of the pedal. While it would be nice to tell you that guitarists Justice Aquilina and Adam Mclean give the listener a reprieve, that would be a lie. Aquilina and Mclean continue on Ross and Sinderly’s dogpile of destructive heaviness, chugging and riffing along with uncanny depth and prolapse-inducing low tone. Even when Ross picks up the pace—if the first portion of “Decaying Days” or the opening to “Wasteland” can really be called “picking up the pace”—Aquilina and Mclean remain low and brooding, resulting in a cacophony of absolutely crushing deathcore that refuses to give the listener any form of break from Wasteland’s oppressive onslaught.
Following that furious flash—and that silence—there was a roar louder than thunder and more intense than a magnitude 10 earthquake. That roar came from the throat of vocalist Evan Sennuck, who provides the most tangible form of hate to complete Continent’s dynamic of dismal, disgustingly heavy deathcore. Just as no single element of Wasteland’s instrumentation is done half-way, Sennuck’s screams and shouts are unleashed with a force so strong, the listener can practically feel the flesh melting from the inside of their ears. Sennuck proves mastery over his low, bellowed shout throughout “Fake” and “Slaves,” using it as a constant source of crushing, bitter energy. It’s moments like the opening portion of “Wasteland” or the closing breakdown of “Gone/Lost” that show Sennuck for the incredible frontman he truly is though, with the former beginning with a gurgled scream that sounds akin to Satan’s farts, and the latter reaching almost into the realms of melody and mid-range melancholy. 99% of the time, however, Sennuck is a source of low-down-and-dirty growls and gurgles that strike fear into even the most courageous listener’s heart.
Between Ross’ steamrolling percussion, Sinderly’s sinister bass, the hellacious heaviness unleashed by Aquilina and Mclean and Sennuck’s poetically punishing vocals, Continent’s Wasteland is the soundtrack to pure devastation. Every second on the band’s latest EP is more intense than the last, becoming denser and heavier as the tracks wear on. The listener gets no break—no reprieve from the murderous display of musical mastery and visceral vocal prowess—as each breakdown is stacked upon their back like a yoke, forcing them downward into an early grave. In a time where countless bands are jumping on the down-tempo deathcore bandwagon, Continent do it right—playing music so heavy it blows the bandwagon to smithereens, aligning themselves with the likes of Osiah and Traitors when it comes to belittling the listener with brutalizing, remorseless aggression.
With intensity enough to level mountains, and explosive anger that’s capable of wiping entire cities off of the map, Continent’s Wasteland is an EP that any fan of heavy music will want to get their hands on. Creatively written, expertly mastered and—of course—oppressively heavy, Wasteland is a beacon to all bands aspiring to create low’n’slow deathcore—even if it will just lay them to waste in the process.
For Fans Of: Traitors, Osiah, Obelisk, Beneath the Veil, Genocide District, Black Tongue
By: Connor Welsh