Artist: Chamber of Malice
Album: Crime City Slam – EP
A band’s music, oftentimes, is a product of their surroundings. Some bands try and hide it—cover it up with floral guitar work and corny clean-vocal choruses, trying to repress the aggression and intensity that comes from their surroundings from seeping through their music. Maybe it’s an attempt to appeal to a broader range of listeners. Maybe it’s completely unintentional—the point is this:
Chamber of Malice are not one of those bands.
With Crime City Slam, the band are back and more aggressive than ever, proudly wearing their penchant for hyperaggressive and hellishly intense music on their sleeves. Substituting the more deathcore-oriented sound of 028 Hate for a more slam-oriented and brutalizing approach, Crime City Slamis a ten-track tour-de-force that cracks the listener’s ribs and superheats their viscera, reducing them to a barely-functioning mound of molten flesh.
Fans of Chamber of Malice’s earlier works may find themselves slightly dismayed at first—as the band focus less on ten-ton breakdowns and more on ten-thousand-ton slams and chunky, dense riffs. These Hof Hellraisers waste little time, kicking off “An Introduction” with a catchy, bouncy beat before steamrolling the listener with a series of debilitating slams that crack bone and shear flesh—and things only get more intense from there. Songs like the raunchy slamming deathcore anthem “Beginning of Your Doom” are bewildering; employing mach-speed drums and megaton riffs simultaneously to drop the listener’s jaw, while beatdown-infused, slam-turned-heavy-hardcore tracks “Unforgiven” and “World of Shit” (the latter having one of the best-but-corniest mosh calls of 2016) waste little time in ripping the listener’s jaw cleanly off of their face and beating them into the ground with it. Even during moments of frightening speed (of which there are plenty), Chamber of Malice’s malicious percussive onslaught is amplified by the band’s booming, gut-busting bass guitar. Rarely ever actually heard apart from moments of snappy transition, the band’s use of low-end throughout Crime City Slam is noteworthy in the sense that it adds depth and density to even the most frantic and off-the-wall sequences of super-speed kick drum and skin-shredding blast beats. Not only that, but the band’s bass work serves as a solid foundation for their grimy, gritty guitar—which strides a fine line between riff-driven and ruthlessly heavy. On one hand, songs like “World of Shit” infuse plenty of slam-tinted segments with riffs straight out of the beatdown hardcore playbook. Meanwhile, tracks that put the slam back in slamming death metal are more simplistic, opting to inflict blunt force trauma rather than slice skin with sharp technicality. In a sense, that sums up a great majority of what Chamber of Malice are out to do with their instrumentation—not so much shred, slice, and groove, but beat, bludgeon and bruise, swinging away with chugs, riffs and slams heavier than sledgehammers in a successful attempt to leave a mark on the heavy music world.
Chamber of Malice don’t lay up on their assault when it comes to Crime City Slam’s vocal approach, either. Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of the band’s previous albums has been their other-worldly vocal dynamic; with lows sounding like they come from a furious, constipated Satan and furious mid-range yells that strike aggression into even the most pacifistic souls, Chamber of Malice’s vocal expertise has always been undeniable—and that continues here. Crime City Slam sees more than its fair share of high-pitched “brees” and gritty, low gurgles—with each track hitting harder than the last (especially the two songs with featured guest appearances, both of whom manage to add something completely unique to the band’s already bustling dynamic). While “World of Shit” may induce a smirk with the chuckle-worthy mosh call towards the end, that is probably the only time the listener will find themselves smiling during the entirety of the release—because after all, it’s hard to smile when gallon after gallon of gruesome, gory and downright absurd vocal brilliance is being shoved into just about every orifice.
Crime City Slam is like listening to a ravenous dog fight in the middle of a violent protest in the dead center of a warzone—it is non-stop violence; the very essence of aggression, the definition of devastating. In some ways, it feels like a classic deathcore release: gritty production, samples and absurd contrasts between speed and sludge. However, in other ways, it is a contemporary amalgamation of slamming death metal, beatdown hardcore and a bit of off-the-wall, intangible German fury. While it doesn’t offer boatloads of diversity, nor does it offer much in the way of true technical merit, it offers inventive heaviness in ways many bands in the same vein can’t even imagine. In short, Chamber of Malice is willing to do whatever it takes to paint the streets red, and Crime City Slam is proof.
For Fans Of: ClawHammer, Drifted, Epicardectomy, Ingested
By: Connor Welsh