Album: Every Living Creature Dies Alone
From birth, we as humans are tortured by notions of our own deaths. We whittle away days trying to add to our fortunes on Earth, attempting to leave some lasting legacy. We distract ourselves with ceaseless questions—when will I die? What will I die from? What can I take with me? And most importantly: with whom will I die?
Ladies and gentlemen, the terrifyingly heavy Texan hardcore act INSVRGENCE have your answer: nothing and no one.
With an approach to brutality as stark as the album’s name would imply, INSVRGENCE are a chaotic hardcore act that waste no time in launching an assault on the listener’s ears. Every Living Creature Dies Alone is a hellish, harrowing and horrendously heavy release that smothers the listener’s soul in seemingly endless layers of dissonance, blurring lines between sludge, hardcore, mathcore and thrash metal—yet leaving no style undone, comprehensively crushing the listener without remorse.
Proudly describing themselves as “high energy hardcore,” INSVRGENCE couldn’t have hit the nail more squarely on the head even if they tried. Every Living Creature Dies Alone is an exercise in extreme energy and mind-melting dissonance, as the band seems to have two speeds: Lightning-like or sludgier than snail shit. Percussionist Ryan Brookshire is responsible for this, with drums that rely on lacerating blast beats or looming toms and splashy cymbals, he is the very definition of dynamic, smoothly oscillating between speed and sinister atmosphere. The introduction to “Fate” is an excellent example—as his drums slowly build from brooding, dreary depth to flashy, furious speed. Brookshire works side by side with bassist Jacob Mercado to provide a fast foundation whose speed is matched only by its grimy, deep tone. Mercado’s massive bass makes every breakdown ten times more mammoth, and gives substantial weight to the faster paced grooves and blast, preventing Brookshire from dominating INSVRGENCE’s delicate balance. “Treason” and it’s climactic breakdown showcases the dynamism between Mercado and Brookshire excellently, while “Social Darwinism” and “Robber Barons” highlights the opposite—Mercado working more closely with guitarists Rafe Holmes and Drew Walker. Holmes and Walker lay down grooves, riffs and breakdowns that are nothing short of perfection. Whether it’s the quick flourishes that decay into deadly heaviness in “Social Darwinism,” the endearing energy of “What it Means to be Human” or the pure mosh-laden chaos of “Robber Barons,” this duo bring diversity to heavy hardcore in a manner previously unthought of. The epic anthem “Birth Rights” sees all four of the fantastic musicians doing all of the above—oscillating between murderous aggression, absurd speed and segments of atmosphere and ambience that redefine “melancholy”.
So if you aren’t getting the picture by now, INSVRGENCE’s instrumentation is as sporadic and abstract as the very concept it illustrates—that of the fleeting nature of life and the mysterious abyss that is death. Vocally, Every Living Creature Dies Alone is as dynamic as its musicianship, with narratives focusing on social distress and political strife, touching on the whimsical notions of birth, life and death in the process. The album’s title track focuses on the latter, highlighting frontman James Wendt’s incredible lyricism and unparalleled vocal talent. Meanwhile, “Robber Barons” brings a heaping dose of frill-free aggression and malevolence, seeing Wendt focus on gruff, mid-range yells guaranteed to turn even nursing homes into crowd-kill induced crime scenes. There isn’t much more to be said of Wendt’s talent other than what Every Living Creature Dies Alone makes markedly apparent: he is energetic and dynamic, hitting home for the entirety of the album’s sprawling run time with a great variety of shouts and screams, each hitting more harshly than the last.
With a sound that can best be described as “frantic” and a nearly-hour-long album length, the listener may fear that INSVRGENCE’s latest full length release may be overwhelming or scattered—when in reality, those accusations couldn’t be further from the truth. In comparison to the band’s previous release, Every Living Creature Dies Alone is incredibly focused—as every extreme the band hits is done even better than before, with practically no filler to be found. The manic, murky breakdowns are heavier and harder, the dissonant, atmospheric interludes are more ethereal and surreal—and the fast, pissed portions are faster and more pissed than all the urinals in Longhorn Stadium. This Texan quintet don’t half-ass a single second of this impressively long album—making it a grating, intense and dense experience, but one that manages to grab the listener’s ear within seconds and refuse to let go.
In the end, there is nothing and no one. This is the cold, unforgiving truth that INSVRGENCE’s serve up on an infernal plate comprised of punishing metallic hardcore. Every Living Creature Dies Alone is relentless and ravaging, but remains one of the strongest testaments to chaotic hardcore to emerge since Triumph Over Shipwreck’s Forever. Ending.
For now, it appears that Texas is still very much on top.
For Fans Of: Triumph Over Shipwreck, Wicked World, Choke Chain, Kingmaker
By: Connor Welsh