Artist: Culture Killer
Album: Throes of Mankind
There are those who argue that today’s society is the apex of social evolution—that a culmination of technological and scientific innovations have given mankind the ability to exist at their fullest potential.
Then there are those that disagree.
The contenders claim that the true meaning of “culture” and “heritage” have been lost in a tidal wave of commercialism and capitalism. That we spend every day of our lives overdosing on everything from visual and auditory stimuli to substances and foods that bloat our bodies and minds, making us complacent and lazy. If you had to guess, which camp would you guess Daytona Beach bruisers Culture Killer belong to? Throes of Mankind tells tales of social discontent towards practically anything imaginable—but more importantly, it does so with an unbelievably unique combination of heavy hardcore, death metal, thrash and hints of slam that sounds like someone put No Zodiac, Municipal Waste and Death in a blender and let it run until the only thing remaining was pure essence of heaviness—the very essence Throes of Mankind is sculpted from.
Culture Killer’s debut full length album is nearly an hour of intensity that tramples the listener from the first riff and doesn’t stop once to help them up or check for a pulse. Throes of Mankind is crafted from a foundation of hardcore and death metal and then fleshed out with bits and pieces from sub genres of the two to add variety and material. Percussionist Dylan Blow displays this excellently. Blow’s drumming on the introduction to “(Sub)Stance” and the world-ending climax to “Cloaked in Deceit” are brilliant examples of the band’s penchant for punchy, crowd kill-inducing hardcore and beatdown—while his speedy blast beats and splashy cymbal work throughout “Justice Through Retaliation” show off his more metallic side—as does his work throughout the epic album-closer, “Inhuman Nature.” Where Blow roams from bold brutality to quick-crushing metallic patterns, bassist Collin Townsend is right alongside him. This is especially true in “(Sub)Stance” and “Exterminate Filth,” where Townsend adds a terrifying low end to the prolapse-inducing heaviness instigated by Blow’s bone-busting percussion. Even in spite of Blow and Townsend bringing their A-game to Throes of Mankind, the listener’s attention is hijacked by the hellish intensity pouring forth from the fingers of guitarists Trevor Kopp and Hunter Young. Whether it’s the dizzyingly dense and beefy chugs at the end of “Exterminate Filth,” the catchy riffs throughout “Cloaked in Deceit” or the mesmerizing solos throughout “Justice Through Retaliation” and “Inhuman Nature,” Kopp and Young are a dynamic duo that bring as much variety to Culture Killer as they do brutality—and that’s saying something, considering Throes of Mankind is a lethally heavy release on all fronts.
When it is said that Culture Killer are a force to reckoned with in every respect, this obviously includes their overwhelming vocal element. Frontman Ian Campbell—assisted by Young—ravage the listener with every vocal style imaginable. “Flesh Empire” closes with a bold example of Campbell’s crushing low register—as does “Exterminate Filth”—while “(Sub)Stance” shows off his grating high scream. “Hellbent” favors his more traditional hardcore-influenced yell—a style which serenely accompanies the track’s straightforward style of aggression—while moments like the climax to “Exterminate Filth” feature some tactics torn straight out of a slam band’s playbook. Throughout it all, Campbell is cantankerous, a juggernaut fueled by violence and bitterness—evident in his lyrics that, instead of taking a scattered and unfocused approach to anger, show focus and disgust at several social institutions. Through Campbell’s raw throat and precise lyrical attack, Culture Killer are established as a band with a purpose and a message—something that can’t necessarily be said for many bands that they share the scene with.
From the first lyrics of “Blindfolded Death,” Culture Killer dedicate themselves to tearing down the façade of modern day society—and in destruction, they have made something beautiful. Throes of Mankind is fast, heavy, low and pissed—with more slams than a sumo wrestling match and enough solos to satiate even the thirstiestmetalheads. Rather than a haphazard collection of anthems that mash up metal and hardcore, every song is a tasteful combination of speed and spine-shattering aggression. Every second of the lead single “Exterminate Filth” is an example of that—especially how smoothly (yet quickly) Kopp and Young drop from a soaring solo into a soul smothering slam—and how well Campbell’s vocal range compliments it. Even the instrumental track, “Throes,” is sublime, with hints of groove and doom metal in between the skeletal segments of straightforward hardcore. In short, Throes of Mankind is a testament to originality within all styles of heavy music—not just an example of excellent metal or hardcore.
Culture Killer’s bold, brash takedown of modernity is enough to silence those preaching edenic bliss in today’s America. A poignant wake-up call and call for change, Throes of Mankind is a genre-defining example of excellence that will have extreme music fans of all ages and styles throe-ing down in no time.
For Fans Of: No Zodiac, Knocked Loose, Dark Sermon, Death
By: Connor Welsh