Album: Relentless Misery
Take a second to think about how much we, as humans, depend on routine, and accountability. Take something simple like where you put your car keys, or the remote control. When you set your keys down on the table by the front door, or the remote on the table next to your favorite seat in the family room, you expect it to be right as you left it when you need it next. In the same way, some bands are like this; when I listen to an Emmure album, new or old, I expect to be greeted with vocals that sound like the B-side to a Listerine commercial and riffs that resemble cheerios. While some bands make it a point to diversify their sound on each release, hopping between genres like a game of hopscotch, some bands are the “ol’ faithful” of their respective styles—and with their sophomore full-length release, Labyrinthe prove themselves as the latter. Relentless Misery is a masterful display of raunchy, pulverizing deathcore with enough technicality to keep it immersive and more than enough heaviness to completely oppress the listener. With the sinister, soul-sucking majesty that is Relentless Misery, Labyrinthe display that if you’re looking for the filthiest, no-holds-barred heaviest deathcore experience out there, you need not look further.
Relentless Misery is a fog of thick, suffocating anguish. Above all things, it circles around the listener, weighing down on their shoulders, compressing their ribcage and making it torturous to breathe. Beginning from even the most rudimentary levels of Labyrinthe’s instrumentation, to even their most transient layers, each track of the album is nothing but pure, pulverizing insanity. This is true of the percussion—the very foundation upon which every skyscraper of demonic dissonance that dots the cityscape of oppression that is Relentless Misery is built. “Serpenternal Engorgement” is a stellar example—opening with machine gun, mile-a-minute blast beats and steadily winding their way into groove-friendly comrades of the chug, Chris Donohue is capable of practically any combination of speed and technicality the listener can fathom. On top of that, bass and guitar reign supreme, working together to craft tedious, torturous pinnacles of sonic pain. “Cinderblock Castration” and “Vomital Asphyxiation” are two examples that stand out. While the percussion blasts and pummels away like a jackhammer on meth-amphetamines, the guitar roams from crushing, steamrolling chugs to deep, low grooves that carve scars into the listener’s flesh. These instrumental elements combine in moments of pure, punishing deathcore bliss that completely succeed in oppressing the listener, damning them to eternal servitude, under the reign of these lords of dissonant, dominant deathcore.
Garrett Greene and Jason Keating don’t just break the listener’s bones with brutalizing, low-down-and-dirty, chug-friendly breakdowns. The moments of intense, flaying technicality that come from Greene and Keating’s frets are surreal and just as beautiful as the blistering heaviness with which Labyrinthe is more than familiar with. Relentless Misery is home to moments—like those found in “U731” or “Nothing”—that are perfect culminations of furiously fretted riffs, rolling, looping bass guitar and percussion that manages to strike as quickly as lightning, but hit as precisely as a shell from the rifle of a carefully trained sniper. The result? Moments of punctual technicality that rip right through the layers of dense, oppressive dissonance to split the listener’s skull in twain. These sections of sheer shred and titillating technicality are sublime in the sense that they don’t take up entire tracks with pointless, boring show-boating—but they are frequent enough to display that Labyrinthe are definitely experienced and well-practiced songwriters, as well as masters of their respective instruments.
True—even with Donohue’s insane percussive ability, Greene’s gallant, galloping bass work and Keating’s magnificent, murderous guitar ability, Labyrinthe don’t exactly do anything new for the genre. Justin Wilson lets loose with vocals that are nothing short of perfect—far and above the standard low growls and forced screeches typical of the genre—but writes lyrics that are relatively standard fare for slamming, heavy deathcore. Most importantly though, is the punchline to Labyrinthe’s long, filthy joke: while they might not add a new style or take on deathcore’s expansive list of variations, they display prominent, careful perfection of the genre’s strongest tenants. The heavy parts are practically unbearable. The shred? Well—it shreds, simply enough. Everything Labyrinthe bring to Relentless Misery is relentless in inflicting nothing but pure misery, and it does so by perfectly portioning and combining all the aspects of deathcore the listener would expect, leaving them anything but disappointed.
The craving hits—you want heavy, and lots of it. You want it fast, pissed and pulverizing, and you don’t particularly care how you get it. You want Labyrinthe’s long awaited sophomore release, Relentless Misery—a comprehensive mastery of modern deathcore at its most murderous, malicious and misanthropic.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Ingested, Decapitated, Whitechapel, Thy Art is Murder
By: Connor Welsh