Artist: Slice the Cake
Album: Other Slices
It’s so regular, you can practically rely on it happening every year–you could set your watch to it, so to speak. I’m speaking, of course, about the bands which habitually wait until the waining days of the year to release an album, just after top-10/20/100 lists have been finalized (or so you thought) by reviewers across the globe. Naturally, these albums are–you guessed it–jaw dropping. Other Slices, by baked goods-inspired progressive deathcore act Slice the Cake, is one of those albums. Composed of songs which didn’t fit on their other 2012 release (and album-of-the-year heavyweight) The Man With No Face, Other Slices is a dynamic, diverse record with heavy, ferocious breakdowns, jarring slams and some oddly relaxed and hypermelodic oddballs, Other Slices is more evidence that variety not just the spice of life, but the spice that deathcore needed.
The most crucial and wonderful aspect of Other Slices is, without a doubt, the veritable cornucopia of variety to be found within it. The album is, if you had to liken it to something, an auditory horn of plenty. While the re-recorded “Cleansed” and the powerhouse “False Illumination” provide stunning, crushing heaviness while “The Great Migration” is home to a soothing, palliative instrumental interlude unlike any other track on the album. The listener might be surprised, however, by the experience to be had throughout the album. True: Other Slices is, more or less, a collection of B-Sides. False: It is, therefore, incoherent and half-assed. Other Slices flows superbly, regardless of the album’s content. By the way the album flows gracefully from track to track, in and out of turbulent, violent storms, it could be a monstrous, juggernaut of a concept album (for all the listener knows).
However, where the album’s eclectic taste truly takes the reigns is on tracks like “Siren’s Song,” “Kow Otani’s Castle in the Sky” or “Fractal Exam Sequence.” All of these powerhouse tracks combine a more “traditional” metal/deathcore sound with something new and quite unlike the band’s previous tracks. “Siren’s Song” contrasts subtle, conciliatory clean vocals against crushing heaviness, while “Kow Otani’s Castle in the Sky” sounds like it could just as easily have been a B-Side to a Between the Buried and Me release. “Fractal Exam Sequence” is, without a doubt, one of the most unique undergoings the band has taken on to date. Using brilliant, ethereal female guest vocals and a smooth migration into a progressive, jazzy groove, “Fractal Exam Sequence” is not just one of the band’s most beautiful tracks, but might be one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.
Where to go from here? Well, perhaps the variation to be found on this variegated chimera of an album wouldn’t be such a Godsend if the instrumentation and vocal performances were lacking in any area. Quite the contrary is the case, for, no matter what style–jazz, deathcore, groove, slam–the band is playing, Slice the Cake always play it perfectly. From the blast-beat laden, riff-driven sections of “Kow Otani’s Castle in the Sky” to the classical guitar introduction to “Fractal Exam Sequence” and everything in between, each instrument is absolutely perfect. The drums are capable of ranging from blisteringly fast blast beats and brutalizingly heavy fills to quick, speedy jazz fills and splashy cymbal work. The drums, as brilliant as they are, turn out to be, more often than not, a backdrop for the jaw-dropping fretwork. The guitars range from riff-driven, metallic grooves to heavy, chug-laden deathcore punishment, with enough room for jazz-based chords and quick fingerwork to sneak in from time to time. It should come as no surprise that, like the drums and guitar, the vocals are stellar to boot. With cleans that actually fit and screams that can go from high to low at the drop of a hat, the vocals are just the icing on the marvelous, multi-layer cake that is Other Slices.
So you’re tired of same-y, boring deathcore acts? Or maybe you just didn’t get enough slices of The Man With No Face? Then check out Other Slices. Hell, even if neither of those statements are true, listen to this album anyways, as I can personally promise you that no matter what your musical inclinations happen to be, you will find something delicious in this wedding-cake sized masterpiece that Slice the Cake have to offer.
For Fans Of: Between the Buried and Me, Entities, After the Burial, Circle of Contempt, The Contortionist
By: Connor Welsh