REVIEW: Culture Killer – Denial [EP/2014]


Artist: Culture Killer

Album: Denial – EP


Lurking in the back of your mind, pulsing, throbbing and thumping, there is an urge—an impulse. Propagated by anger and aggression at your surroundings—sparked by the stagnancy and stupidity of modern society—it grows. It is the raw, primal fury that turns the corners of your vision a rosy hue of pinkish-red; the same shade of red as watered down blood. It is the ignorant, imminent rage that pushes you towards a sociopathic rampage, tearing down the obelisks and pillars supporting modern-day society and letting it crumble around you. It is Denial, the debut EP by Culture Killer, a project founded and fueled by boundless, unstoppable anger. Thrashy, destructive hardcore blends with dissonant, doom-like down-tempo to create a deviant, demonic release that is one-half lightning-quick hellion, and one-half plodding, looming goliath, crushing and splitting everything that lies in its path.

Denial leaps into the listener’s consciousness with a cavalry of catastrophic, calamitous guitars, rolling, sucker-punch bass and percussion that hammers the listener so hard in the ribs it will cause their limbs to rupture. Both “Denial” and “The Overbearing” do this exceptionally effectively, showcasing the band’s penchant for thrashy, aggressive hardcore dynamics a la The Chariot, Norma Jean and Rotting Out—taking metallic song structure and spiking it with churning, chugging hardcore and raw, slack-jawed aggression. A great majority of the thrashing, gnashing and raw aggression comes from the guitars—squealing and squawking their way through intimidating, shreddy and lacerating riffs. “Denial” does this nearly to death—but instead perfectly walks the tedious line between irritating and over-produced, letting the guitars wretch and moan with sheer, bitter emotion that provides a visceral, organ-cutting edge to Culture Killer’s razor-sharp and mile-long blade.

While the grind-and-thrashy elements of “Denial” and “The Overbearing” lend a gleaming edge to the weapon that is Culture Killer’s Denial, there is much more to the gritty, cold steel that comprises this release. I’m speaking, of course, of Denial’s penchant for the throat-punching, dirty-fighting down-tempo heaviness. Seen best towards the conclusion of “Nothing” and throughout “White Plague,” the chug-friendly song structure and bitter, misanthropic spite that drives these tracks provides a picture-perfect definition of down-tempo destruction that would make Traitors and Black Tongue proud. Enormous, goliath tones clash with unfathomably deep and bone-grinding meatiness, providing a conversation between the percussion, bass and guitar that is nothing short of mesmerizing. All the while, a dynamic, dual-vocal assault lays waste to the listeners sanity, forcing the rosy hue at the corner of their vision to spread inwards and turn a deep, thick, incarnadine.

Even in spite of its brief run-time, Culture Killer have no issue in splitting the listener in twain with soul-stealing heaviness and raunchy, visceral grind-turned-thrash-turned-hardcore insanity. “Denial” is an unpredictable animal that roams the spectrum of heavy music, borrowing deep, brooding gutturals from deathcore and doom, and combining them with panic-inducing percussion and jarring fretwork a la grind-and-hardcore—only to tie the track together with the dictionary definition of a crushing, spine-shreddingly heavy breakdown. Meanwhile, “Nothing” is a non-stop lesson in lung-deflating heaviness—with lyrical dismalness and depressive atmosphere for days on end. While the entire EP is disappointingly brief, it covers such an incredible array of styles and influences that what it lacks in length, it makes up for in diversity.

No matter what kind of harsh, heavy and hate-filled music you like, Culture Killer is sure to hit at least one style of it on their comprehensive, crushing (if not cruelly short) spectrum. Ranging from the red-hot, white-lightning of hardcore punk and grindcore to the pitch black, oozing tar black of doom and down-tempo, Denial is an EP that can leave the listener sure of one thing: there’s no denying Culture Killer have what it takes to slaughter every false metal-and-hardcore act standing in their way to the top.



For Fans Of: Traitors, Rotting Out, The Chariot, Deftones, The Number Twelve Looks Like You

By: Connor Welsh