Album: When Mutation Becomes Homicidal
Have you ever thought about what kind of music the most infamous villains of all time would listen to? What album would serve as the soundtrack to their most illustrious acts–for example: what would Dracula have on his iPod while draining the blood from his victims? What would Dr. Frankenstein have spinning on his record player while crafting his hideous namesake? If you’ve ever wondered that, then wonder no more–for the answer is undoubtedly Rostock’s slamming deathcore masters, Acranius, and their debut full length release, When Mutation Becomes Homicidal. Laden with blistering technical death metal, in-your-face hardcore and devastating slams, When Mutation Becomes Homicidal has all the structure and prowess to stand alone in it’s genre, with all the heaviness and meat to keep the listener’s jaw dropped and head banging from start to finish.
The first furious element Acranius use when crafting their remarkably heavy, slamming deathcore is sheer speed. Jam-packed with machine-gun speed blast beats and ferociously fast fills, When Mutation Becomes Homicidal uses drums as the means through which true alacrity is reached. After a somewhat subtle beginning, “Creating the Misshapen Icon” roars into the listener’s cranium with such a devastating change in gait that it almost knocks the listener clean out of their seat. Furiously high-pitched and cracking snare tones beautifully contrast the deep, fleshy sound of the bass drum and the deep timbre of the toms. All the while, splashy cymbals add atmosphere and depth where many of the band’s peers are lacking and empty. While the drums are snapping along at miles per second, the vocals are always there alongside them. Even while the guitar stays muddied alongside the bass, the vocals provide a constant pacemaker for the drums, ensuring they’re neither out of place with their speed, nor slowing down and weighing the candor of the track down.
True enough, When Mutation Becomes Homicidal’s drums are positively lacerating with their abundant speed and full-ness, but that is not the only weapon in Acranius’ monstrous arsenal. The deep, heavy sludge brought by the guitars is, without a doubt, the source of the band’s slamming, crushing nature. While the drums are blistering, and the vocals are visceral and high-pitched, the guitars tend to stay near the lower end of the fretboard, working their way upwards only momentarily to launch a surprise attack on the listener’s ears. “When Mutation Becomes Homicidal” utilizes this more effectively than most of the tracks, sneaking in tweaked and pinched harmonics to split the listener’s skull, after crushing their spine with unfathomably heavy and deeply chugged riffs. These rapid changes in guitar tone amplify the band’s ability to slam and smash at the listener’s sanity. The band makes stunning use of these changes in pitch and tone to create detailed, full-bodied onslaughts on the listener as vicious as a Nordic winter, and as unimaginably deep as the Baltic Sea.
Acranius contrast blistering drums and vocals with trudging guitar to create something many slamming, brutal, deathcore bands lack: structure. What When Mutation Becomes Homicidal has that it’s peers lack is form, body and flow. The band doesn’t simply place monotonous “brees” alongside chugged out guitar and blast beats to make errantly distasteful heaviness. Rather, they write songs with structure and purpose, which build crisp, detailed structures to bring smashing to the ground with earth-shattering slams and grimy grooves. In fact, Acranius are one of the few slam deathcore acts which come to mind to actually use grooving, gyrating riffs alongside skull-smashing breakdowns and blistering blast beats to entice the listener and create a dynamic form of heaviness which only seems to go from heavy, to heavier and finally, heaviest.
If you haven’t gathered, I’m not normally one to like slam-based deathcore acts. However, I was drawn in by Acranius’ single “Life Sustainment to Continue Mutilation,” and was completely floored by how incredible the rest of the album turned out to be. When Mutation Becomes Homicidal is packed with grooves, speed, depth and slams for days, and completely structured and so well written that, as if a cathedral of filth, amazes and disgusts the listener at the same time, in the best way imaginable.
For Fans Of: Ingested, Upheaval, Bound by Exile, Kraanium
By: Connor Welsh