Artist: Slaughter to Prevail
Album: Chapters of Misery – EP
If someone were to write a book about your life, what would it be like? Would it pleasant? Perhaps light, airy, lingering on the good things and skipping over the bad? Or would it be honest—a balanced mix of the positive and negative things that have defined your time spent on earth? If it was a biography of the brutalizingly heavy, terrifyingly intense deathcore act, Slaughter to Prevail, it would be a book bound in the skin of innocent men and women, written with the blood and pus of those they have put to death. Chapters of Misery is just that—a collection of some of the most intensely heavy songs you’ll have the pleasure to hearing. These ruthless Russian overlords of heaviness combine slamming, sinister death metal with no-holds-barred, spirit-crushing, soul-smothering brutality that will leave even the most weathered veterans of heavy music shaking in their boots. Between the organ-liquifying slams and the spine-shrinking breakdowns, it’s hard to tell which is heavier—and that’s the only problem the listener is bound to find.
When “slam” comes to mind, the listener probably has a collection of premonitions about the genre that jump into their head. Blast beats? Yup. Tremolo-picked, ultra-low riffs? Check. More “brees,” “squees” and “wees” than a busy night at the slaughterhouse? Check, check and check. The same thing happened when the listener considers deathcore. Low, slow chugs, bouncy bits of groove and misanthropic, murderous lyrics. Slaughter to Prevail has it all—and rather than overwhelming the listener by attempting to put it in all in a blender and mash it together, they intelligently write each song to be a constantly heavy, oppressive experience that never becomes boring, tedious, repetitive or overbearing. Admittedly, that’s a bold claim—especially when it comes to two genres that are notoriously prone to monotony—but Chapters of Misery is an engaging, energetic novel that wears away the listener’s brain as if each chug, thud, smack and plop were made from acid. This is, in part, due to the varied and violent percussive efforts of drummer Anton Poddyachy. Every pattern Poddyachy writes is a brilliant, bone-snapping lesson of lacerating technicality. Even the EP’s introductory track features fills and furious kick drum grooves that would put most groups of heavy musicians to shame—let alone his full-bore efforts on “Death” or “Misery.” Poddyachy is insanely talented, peppering mach-speed fills in between brutalizing breakdowns or beefy, thick grooves with such creativity that each one is a fresh sucker-punch to the listener’s jaw. Even as Poddyachy’s kick drum is roaring away like a firing squad of .50 caliber machine guns, they maintain a hefty, meaty candor—due to the dynamic, devastating grooves from bassist Filipp Kucheryavyh. Kucheryavyh adds dizzying depth to every breakdown, making the climactic moments of “Hell” drip with dissonance—all while adding a fluid low-end to Slaughter to Prevail’s dynamic that weighs down on the listener like a blanket made of lead.
Poddyachy’s punishingly technical percussion is skin-peeling, and Kucheryavyh’s grooves coat each fresh laceration with coarse, raw salt—but that is just the foreword to Chapters of Misery. Slaughter to Prevail’s resident riffsmiths, Jack Simmons and Slava Antonenko are two of the most intense and malicious forces deathcore—and slam—have seen to date. Those of you familiar with Acrania are already familiar with Simmons’ handiwork—making sense of some of Slaughter to Prevail’s slam-tinted tendencies. However, Simmons has met his match with Antonenko, who adds a maelstrom of meaty, murderous heaviness to each and every second Chapters of Misery oppresses the listener. “Crowned & Conquered” is a crushing display of the dynamic duo’s devious fretwork—as is the anthemic debut single, “Hell.” On these tracks, Simmons shreds away, caving in skulls with each tediously tremolo-picked riff. Meanwhile, Antonenko aggressively—but smoothly and intelligently—transitions into moments of chest-caving, prolapse-proliferating punishment, redefining pain which each resonating chug.
Slaughter to Prevail’s claim to fame, however, is not their slam-tinted heaviness, insane percussion or intelligent songwriting (even though these are all equally important aspects of the band’s peerless skill). Their main asset rests in the throat and lungs of frontman Alex Terrible, who is widely regarded as one of deathcore’s most talented frontmen. If you believed this, then you won’t be disappointed—and if you are a skeptic, prepare to see the light. Terrible’s vocal work is anything but. His range alone is undeniably one of the most superior displays of savage talent the genre has to offer—but when coupled with his stamina and impeccable ability to flow over Chapters of Misery’s chunkiest breakdowns, he becomes a God. While his lyrics are in Russian—and barked far too quickly, grisly or highly to understand anyways—the listener is still overwhelmed with immense hate from the first syllable. There truly isn’t more to say—Terrible’s vocal prowess is worthy of residing on deathcore’s highest tier of talent, and those who disagree haven’t heard “Beast” or “Death.”
Slaughter to Prevail have it all—if they were a store, they would be a Costco or a Sam’s Club, as they tower above the competition and give the listener copious amounts of any kind of heavy they can imagine. Looking for straightforward, chug-driven intensity? Look no further than “Misery.” Seeking slams and jarring riffs a plenty? “Crowned & Conquered” has exactly what you need. Better yet—just immerse yourself in the whole EP. It is 21 minutes of smothering, sinister intensity that will scratch any nagging itch you have for crushing music. Make no mistake, the only way you’ll be able to put Chapters of Misery down is if—or when, rather—Slaughter to Prevail gouge out your eyes.
For Fans Of: Chamber of Malice, Acrania, Martyr Defiled, Disfiguring the Goddess, Acranius
By: Connor Welsh