EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: Cholera A.D. – After Death [EP/2015]


Artist: Cholera A.D.

Album: After Death – EP


There’s nothing left. Scourge swept the planet like a tidal wave and drenched everything in plague before withdrawing back to nothingness. With it, all semblance of human life was taken–entire cities corroded and reduced to barren wastelands, bereft of life. Skin and flesh melted like butter in a frying pan; bone turned to ash as easily as paper before a flame. What would overwhelm the human race with such remorseless ease? None other than the Ohio-based onslaught, Cholera A.D. These Cleveland crushers drench the world in filth with their latest offering–a technical and bitter twist on classic deathcore—with their aptly named EP, After Death. Aptly named, because after these five tracks of furiously heavy and fearsomely intense deathcore are done ravaging the planet, death is the only thing left, standing tall amid its self-made wasteland that was once our world.

After Death is a blend of all the best instrumental elements deathcore has to offer—from lightning-like blast beats, catchy solos and sinister slam—with only enough filler to keep the listener from going completely insane. “Spit on Her Grave,” the album’s opening track, wastes no time in making this crystal clear for the listener, as it opens with a savage salvo of skin-peeling blast beats from percussionist Jesse Greenfeather, who seems to take peculiar pleasure in peeling away the listener’s skin with precise, savage drumming. Even when he isn’t blazing along at Mach speeds, Greenfeather is still a source of constant entertainment, bewildering the listener with bouncy, groove-friendly kick patterns that serve as a stellar lattice for bassist Tre Love to weave writhing, low-string riffs between. Love is a cornucopia of raunchy, low-end fretwork that serves to keep Greenfeather’s gratuitous blast beats from flying off the rails, or working as a firmament to joint Greenfeather’s percussion to the immense fretwork of guitarists Jesse Shattuck and Jason Byrd. Just as Greenfeather’s drumming is dynamic and varied, Byrd and Shattuck share a desire for diverse and scathing riffs that drop into moments of hell-bound heaviness or shred sessions that soar skyward. For proof, the listener need look no further than “Casted Out,” a track which is low and groove-filled for its majority, but ends with a solo that is both melodic and ear-catching, yet downright evil—excellently showcasing Byrd and Shattuck’s behemoth songwriting ability.

Cholera A.D. have the body of a juggernaut crafted by nearly ten years of experience in the world of heavy music, their head is a Janus-like amalgam of two distinctly talented vocalists—cementing their positions as Demi-gods among modern day deathcore bands. Vocalists Andy Evenson and Bill Zakovec are a one-two punch that will lay the listener out faster than Muhammad Ali and more ferocity than Mike Tyson (or his tiger). The duo are preachers of pestilence and putridity, filling the listener’s ears with diabolical lyrics and downright filthy vocals that range from a shrill scream, a half-sung shout or a gurgling growl all with the same astonishing aggression. “Blackout” is home to a varied vocal onslaught that lasts all the way to its catchy, sing-song end; just as “In The Mouth of Madness” features the duo’s most intelligible screams and shouts, making many of the syllables clean and crisp enough to eat off of—but make no mistake, doing so would result in nothing but full blown infection, as After Death is still a filthy, hard-hitting deathcore masterpiece, even if it’s more metallic moments leave the listener mystified.

Even with a short and speedy runtime, After Death is still a complete and crushing lexicon of deathcore mastery—exactly what one would expect from a band that has defined the genre since 2006. Every track brings a new twist and turn to Cholera A.D.’s attack on the listener—just as “Casted Out” ends with a whirlwind solo straight out of a Death album, “Blackout” opens with one. Meanwhile, “Spit on Her Grave” is a lesson in lurid, slamming deathcore, heavy enough to atrophy the listener’s brain. “Beyond Punishment” concludes the release on a different note–mish-mashing the band’s breakdown-tinted tendencies towards brutality with classic metallic influence and a simply huge vocal presence that might seem out of place were it not done so convincingly. After Death is the sound of a band staging a five-alarm comeback, only rather than attempting to appeal to older fans with an antiquated sound, they expand their reach ten-fold, giving historied fans of the band a familiar foundation to frolic upon, but allowing ample room for new fans of heavy music to dive in as well.

Robbed of life and stripped of vivid, colorful happiness, the earth has been reduced to waste by Cholera A.D.’s return to heavy music. Somewhere between Salt the Wound and Suffocation, this Cleveland cataclysm is a group dynamic and destructive enough to reduce even Eden to rubble—and sinister enough to smile during every second.



For Fans Of: Oceano, Misericordiam, Viatrophy, Salt the Wound

By: Connor Welsh