Album: The Burden of Isolation
Ever been alone?
Of course you have. Maybe only for a little, maybe your entire life. But you’ve felt it. You know how deep that cold sensation of abandonment can penetrate into your bones. You know how it plays games with your mind—makes you see things that aren’t real and hear things that aren’t there. You know what it’s like to play games against the darkness and loneliness and lose every single time. And if you’ve moved past it—good for you—but with Filth’s debut full-length record, you’re going to feel it again. The same band that has consecutively revived many listener’s faith in the low’n’slow variety of dark and dismal deathcore, Filth are back with their first LP, and, for lack of a better term, it’s a doozy. More aggressive and intense than the band has ever been, and ever-evolving in their attempt to add new influences and sounds into their backbone of brutalizing downtempo deathcore, The Burden of Isolation sees Filth sonically exploring the true meaning of the word alone, and coming up with a definition that even Merriam-Webster would have a hard time topping.
This entire review could be accurately summarized with one sentence: Filth are back. If you stop reading here, that’s fine—I don’t blame you—but not only are they back, they’re back with a vengeance. “Seventh Seal” sets the tone for the sonic slab of rotting flesh that Filth deliver with every track on The Burden of Isolation, and with every smack of percussionist Kevin Daniels’ kick drum and every lethal groove that pours forth from Sean Britt’s booming bass, the band grow more and more oppressive. Together, Britt and Daniels provide the ground level to the towering goliath that is Filth; and where some cuts, like portions of “Hedonist” and “Deprivation” see the duo moving more quickly (relative to their snail’s pace sludgy norm), other songs—“Collapse II” and “Idle Hands”—are just utter aural abuse, with the duo taking their sweet time in crafting breakdowns that bash bone into fine dust. The duo work to give guitarists David Gantt and Zared Hardin the baseline they need to create some of the most crushing breakdowns downtempo deathcore has ever seen. (well, or heard). Now—true—the genre is monotonous in its very nature, but Hardin and Gantt absolutely obliterate that stereotype, adding eerie effects, occasional nu-metal influence and the not-uncommon groovy riff into the mix to keep The Burden of Isolation from becoming a burden of boredom. “Idle Hands” is an excellent example of this—as is the bone-chilling “Deprivation” and “Mirrors.” Together, the duo spend most of their time crafting immense breakdowns and insanely heavy dirges, but they aren’t without variety, further establishing Filth as a unique and worthwhile band in a genre that gets a (somewhat deserved) bad wrap.
Then, there’s frontman Dustin Mitchell. Mitchell has always been a tremendous voice—and hell, he’d have to be in order to do justice to Filth—but with each release he has improved, and on The Burden of Isolation, he has grown tenfold over Filth’s previous effort. Here, Mitchell is simply absurd, and if you didn’t get the memo from hearing the second single, “Hedonist,” then you need to get your ears checked. Just about every track on the Burden of Isolation sees Mitchell’s range expanding to new depths and screeching highs, where other choice cuts—“Deprivation” and “Hedonist” among them—see eerie vocal styles, including cleanly sung segments and verses muttered in an almost trance-like state. Mitchell is another wellspring of diversity for Filth, keeping the listener engaged and on board, refusing to succumb to the notion that all downtempo deathcore need be boring and lackluster, as anyone who hears Mitchell’s voice in destructive dialectic with Gantt’s guitar work and Britt’s bass will be hard pressed to call anything about it boring.
Filth live up to their name—enough said. However, they do more than that; they exceed it, casting previous notions of their abyssal heaviness to shame. The Burden of Isolation is back-breakingly heavy in all respects, while adding a little catchiness, bounce and eerie atmosphere into the mix, making it a testament to the band’s ingenuity and determination to deliver nothing but the most addictingly oppressive music one can imagine.
For Fans Of: Bodysnatcher, Genocide District, Traitors, Black Tongue
By: Connor Welsh