There’s a bizarre feeling that accompanies being left completely alone. It’s a pain that’s both stabbing and severe, yet dull and throbbing. It’s the feeling of you failing in every attempt you make to occupy this newfound space—the withering rot that accompanies each and every shot you take at improvement—growing to be a better person. It’s the hard, calloused shell that surrounds you after years of being left out in the cold, quarantined from every ounce of kindness you once reveled in. It is the murderously heavy debut offering by Melbourne manslayers Bodysnatcher. Packed with searing hot anger delivered by punishing, precise instrumentation and sullen, bitter—yet brutal—vocals, Abandonment is the constant weight on your shoulders shrinking your spine with every day you remain on your own—Abandonment is brooding, painful darkness at it’s finest.
Anger. Pain. Veins gorged with blood, pulse racing, you feel as though you’ve lost a limb, as anguish shoots through every square inch of your skin. This intensity is the same intensity that could be ascribed to Bodysnatcher’s instrumentation. Neither overly technical nor monotonous and half-baked, Abandonment is home to a sound that is a dense, destructive taste of perfectly practiced down-tempo expertise. Alex Davidson delivers percussion that is absolutely on-point. During the raunchy, fast-paced (well, “fast” relative to the band’s standard tempo) insanity that defines the opening portions of “Soulsucker” and “Spineless,” Davidson lets loose with snare fills that sound like machine guns and kick drum patterns that resonate like cannon fire. However, during the disemboweling, disgusting heaviness that serves as the climax to “Rot,” or the album’s closer, “Cowardice,” Davidson’s attack intensifies, working in crushing harmony with bassist Colton Whelon to smother the listener in thick, dense misery. Other times, Whelon finds himself working alongside guitarists Chris Nash and Ben Bamford—either busting heads with hardcore-influenced beatdown-friendly grooves or steamrolling the listener’s spine with drop-everything filth. “Face Down in Filth” is a great example—not just of Bamford and Nash’s gnarly dialectic, but of the entire band working in careful coordination. Davidson opens the track with a catchy, bouncy percussive attack that opens up the floor for Bamford and Nash to tear the listener into shreds with diabolical, down-tuned and down-tempo chugs—with Whelon chomping anxiously at their heels.
Before the pain even really sets in, it begins to curdle and turn to bitterness. Shifting gears from searing discomfort and coma-inducing anguish to pure loathing. If there is one sentiment imparted by vocalist Kyle Medina, it’s that—murderous, aggressive misanthropy most pure. From the first guttural bark of “Abandonment,” to the closing screeches in “Cowardice,” Medina is absolutely on top of his game. At times, he’s a dead-ringer for the tunnel-throat techniques of Tyler Shelton—other times catching the perfect tone for a Kublai Khan-esque penchant for straightforward beatdown. “Abandonment” sees Medina at his finest—as does the closing portion of “Face Down in Filth,” where his lyrics are obviously more personal and sentimental. Here, Medina is not just a convincing sound-a-like for some of the scene’s most well-known vocalists and their distinct styles, but rather, he grows into a method and style of his own. “Abandonment” is Medina’s masterpiece, where he shines as a one-of-a-kind juggernaut, blending guttural, dark bellows with gruff mid-range shouts and the occasional shriek to capture an all-inclusive snapshot of visceral, dynamic vocals at their finest.
Finally, it turns outward—the pain, anger and bitterness you’ve marinated in after being left alone manifests into action. You take a swing at anything that moves, you yell and shout and demean your surroundings—happy about nothing, miserable about everything. Abandonment is a whirlwind of aggression—no two ways about it. Every second of Bodysnatcher’s debut EP is crafted with utmost care to absolutely crush the listener with unfathomable weight. Primarily, Abandonment is an instrumental apocalypse—spine-shattering breakdowns follow each other in single-file to take turns splitting the listener’s jaw. Grimy, trashy grooves connect the dots, rolling the listener in thick layers of sludge and filth. However, Abandonment is also—to a lesser degree—emotionally compromising. “Abandonment” is a track that will undoubtedly reach countless hearts across the heavy music scene—while “Cowardice” is belittling enough to make even The Rock feel like a flea. Bodysnatcher have created a stellar portrait of boundless aggression that easily strips every inch of humanity from the listener.
Alone. Not only does Abandonment capture that sentiment punctually, but it itself is alone—standing tall above fields of newcomers to the heavy music scene, Bodysnatcher find themselves lonely—a member of a privileged elite tier of down-tempo deathcore than many bands can only dream to reach.
For Fans Of: Traitors, Genocide District, Beacons, Falsifier, Rex
By: Connor Welsh