Artist: One We Created
Album: Asylum 2.0 [EP]
They say that the only people who are truly insane are the people who have no doubt of their sanity in the first place. Think about it–how can you really be absolutely sure that you’re not in the midst of a surreal hallucination, bound in a straightjacket, locked in a six-by-six padded room? No matter how concerned you are with your life existing as a potentially solipsistic nightmare, one thing is for certain: San Antonio shredders One We Created, with their latest EP Asylum 2.0 are enough to convince you that if life as you know it is just an illusion, well, that might be okay.
Imagine you’re knee-deep in the most realistic nightmare your subconscious can create. Wandering through abandoned corridors where there is only just enough light to make you fully aware of your disturbing surroundings. Faintly, from some room down the hall, soft piano echoes. As you move towards the haunting melody (why in the Hell are you moving towards it anyways?) it gets louder, fuller, more robust. As you’re feet away from the source of the ominous tune, an arm, attached to what could only be the most haunting of fiends crashes through the wall and wrings your neck. This experience could just as readily occur in a campy (albeit jumpy) horror movie as it does in the introductory track to One We Created’s Asylum 2.0. “Mankind’s Fools” begins with a haunting atmosphere, which lingers just long enough to strengthen the contrast into the following unrelenting crush of brutality that comprises the track–and the album.
Like any effective horror scenario, it isn’t the “jump scare” that’s truly frightening, it’s the situation the scare is in–and the consequences that arise. What happens from the second the first punishing breakdown graces your ears is nothing but an eighteen minute sleigh ride straight to the darkest nightmare your mind can conjure. Wrought with crushing, downtuned heaviness and offset with haunting moments of ambience placed side-by-side with intense displays of technicality, Asylum 2.0 is nothing short of riveting. The vocals range from guttural, demonic lows to ear-shattering screeches while the guitars chug and noodle their way around the intensely technical canvas that is the percussion work. Whether the bass drum is blaring along at a wicked pace, or the toms are pounding away a punchy, meaty rhythm, the drums are always centrifugal to the performance of the other instruments. They often set a keen, high-speed pace which the guitars have no problem keeping up with. At other times, they slow, allowing synth-and-piano-based atmospheric effects to lend a hauntingly symphonic feel to the album. “Insanity” uses this contrast most effectively, with audible bass to add heavier tone to the positively crushing drums and depth to the sweeping, shredding dual guitars.
“Insanity” truly highlights the brief EP. Starting off with a bang, and placed perfectly in the dead center of the album, it serves as the stunning climax which the juggernaut that is Asylum 2.0 truly deserves. Even if it serves as a disheartening reminder that the album is nearing its close, the haunting keys and absolutely sludgy, grimy breakdown that concludes the track is nothing short of magnificent. In many ways, that breakdown is not simply the pinnacle of the song, but the pinnacle of the album. The moments and sections in “Insanity” prior to that devastating crush, and indeed the rest of Asylum 2.0’s material seem to build as a precariously rickety, yet sound ladder to the climactic, crushing, chug-laden heavy section which sends chills down your spine and to the tips of your toes.
Sanity is really a loaded word and a complex concept. However, One We Created tackle it with ease in Asylum 2.0, which, despite its short length is a complete and entrancing deathcore experience. If this EP, comprised of haunting piano, dynamic technicality and crushing brutality is the supposed soundtrack of nightmares, then I’m okay with never dreaming again.
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism