Album: Reanimated Monstrosity (EP)
A lot of times, genres tend to conjure a premonition or assumption when it comes to a band. “Oh, they play metalcore? They must have a boring electronic aspect and annoying cleans.” Or “Oh, deathcore? So just a bunch of pig squeals, right?” So, I feel obligated to ask: What comes to your mind when you think of slam deathcore, or slam in general? If the answer is an act other than New Jersey’s heaviest offering, Strychnia, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Packed with skin-splitting riffs, tympanic vocals and absolutely pummeling percussion, Strychnia’s latest offering, Reanimated Monstrosity is a lesson in back-busting brutality the listener won’t soon forget.
When I first heard of slam, I wrote it off almost instantly. It was marketed to me as a widely overzealous take on otherwise run of the mill and overcrowded genre. My first forays into the genre proved me little reason to think otherwise. However, bands like Strychnia are different. Reanimated Monstrosity combines the instrumental prowess and extreme technical proficiency of intense, lacerating death metal and organizes it with the dynamic, fluid flow of modernistic deathcore. Case in point; the guitars. Ranging from shredding, blisteringly technical solos and slashing, devastating riffs to monstrous, looming slams and craterous, chugging breakdowns, Strychnia’s strings move from one extreme to the other, creating diverse, dynamic soundscapes without sounding contrived or forced. “Killdozer,” as well as the EP’s introductory track “Reanimated Monstrosity” showcase this brilliantly. The fretwork throughout the release functions as the figurative paint brush which leaps forth onto Strychnia’s expansive canvas of potential and paints a beautiful rendition of a brutalized, war-torn soundscape.
The guitars, however, are not to be outdone by the sheer pervasive pounding of the percussion. Every second of Reanimated Monstrosity is packed with either machine-gun blasts or deep, throbbing slams which beat and bruise the listener into blissful submission. “Killdozer,” again, combines ridiculous levels of technical prowess with drum lines so loaded with fills and lightning-fast blast beats that the listener feels not as if they’re listening to a raging war, but rather, steeped in it themselves. This feeling is amplified by the diverse vocal assault being waged on the listener. Ranging from sky-high shrieks, a marvelously slamming and ear-splitting squeal and subterranean, low bellows, the vocals never stay in one place for too long–preventing the all-too-common vocal monotony one seems to witness in hard hitting slam.
So what’s the result? While the guitars cut away at the listener’s ears like razor wire, and the drums pound at the listener’s head like artillery fire, the vocals split the listener from back to front, providing a completely disemboweling combination of slamming, technical death metal and punctual, structured deathcore. Stunning solos and sonic-barrier-splitting blast beats stack and build atop one another like jenga blocks, just waiting for the catalyst to collapse. Suddenly, and without warning–it happens. The planets align just momentarily enough to provide a massive, gut-wrenching slam to the listener’s stomach, sending them reeling and sending the song crashing down all around them, burying them in their own hopes. Reanimated Monstrosity is a relentlessly heavy release which will leave the listener torn and tattered, begging for more, yet hoping it doesn’t come.
If you have questionable conceptions about the concept of slamming, brutal death metal and hard-hitting, pointed deathcore, give Reanimated Monstrosity a chance. Allow Strychnia to bless your ears and slit your throat with their own special blend of slamming, pulverizing brutality, and I promise, you will keep coming back for more.
For Fans Of: Ingested, Dying Fetus, Acranius.
By: Connor Welsh