Album: Eulogy – EP
The words spoken after our passing are, in some ways, more telling than any spoken about us during our lives. It is only after we shuffle off the mortal coil that those we knew can truly speak their mind about us and reflect on our entire lives without any uncertainty regarding our future. In this respect, our eulogies are stark and honest—or they ought to be—just as Denihilist’s first EP under their new name is a bold, no-holds-barred maelstrom of murderously heavy, gut-wrenchingly groovy deathcore. Eulogy is, in a manner of speaking, the afterword of Hail to the King–Denihilist’s former nom de guerre. Featuring many of the same features—a penchant for punishing heaviness and ruthless grooves—Denihilist speak to Hail to the King’s past while illuminating their own future, building off of their previous venture’s success to create something even more unique and visceral than ever before.
Denihilist provide a unique and refreshing style of deathcore that feels like a true blend between groove and death metal. These days, bands are either absurdly fast with breaks only for slow, sludgy breakdowns and slams or they’re constantly moving at a snails pace, slowly steamrolling the listener with trudging breakdowns that flirt with monotony. This isn’t to say either one is “wrong,” it’s just the trend for deathcore in 2015—unless, of course, you’re Denihilist. Staying away from two-to-three minute stretches of straight blast beats, yet never relying on strings of breakdowns to move a song along, this Dayton quartet are the supreme rulers of the middle ground. Percussionistand co-songwriterDrew Creager dominates with bizarre, bouncy kick drum patterns that serve as a foundation for dizzying grooves and sharp riffs, just as they work as the mainstay for muddy, murderous breakdowns. “It that Betrays” is a brutalizing example—Creager’s footwork fluidly flys from flashy speed to functional, rudimentary stutter-stop patterns. Meanwhile, his technical prowess on “Still” or “Retribution” is nothing short of marvelous—as his speedy fills and sharp snare steal the show. Creager’s drumming is a dynamic baseline for bassist Austin Shock to work excellently with—especially during Denihilist’s slower grooves and sinister spats of heaviness. “Rupture” showcases this brilliantly, as the track’s climactic series of slamming breakdowns see Shock thudding along with Creager’s kick drum, making every whack meatier by tenfold. Even with a masterful drummer and a solid low-end from Shock, the real guts of Eulogy’s songwriting comes from guitarist DarickFaul—especially considering his careful, conversational riffing atop percussionist Creager’s excellent contributions. Faul’s furious fretwork lights up the EP like ten tons of fireworks—especially on “Still” and “Retribution,” where his fleet fingers dance readily alongside Creager’s crushing percussion, slaying the listener with skin-peeling riffs and grooves aplenty. Faul isn’t without a dark side, however—as “Rupture” and “Slavior” are no-holds-barred demonstrations of devastation that will split the listener’s skull like a point blank gunshot.
Allow me a tangent: when I heard of Hail to the King’s name change, I was also alerted that former frontman Kody Hale would be leaving the band. As a friend and admirer of Hale’s awe-inspiring voice and lyrical lexicon, I was gutted. My hopes for more original, witty and evil lyricism were dashed out just like that—but fortunately for me, and for heavy music fans worldwide, my fear was for naught. Hale’s voice will always be special to me, but new frontman Jordan Melsop is just as talented, both lyrically and vocally as his predecessor, playing a huge role in Denhilist’a success with Eulogy. “Slavior” in particular is a testament to Melsop’s lurid, adults-only lyricism, as well as his unbelievable range. Hitting grisly lows on “It that Betrays” and “Slavior” while decimating devilish highs on “Rupture,” Melsop’s voice works brilliantly with Denihilist’s dynamism.
Like it or not, Hail to the King is dead—Denihilist make damn sure of that as Eulogy roars while Hail to the King’s casket is lowered six feet deep. What remains is a complete actualization of Hail to the King’s potential—with subtle stylistic changes and the very same love of spreading malevolence, murderous intent and hatred, Denilhilist are a perfectly functioning machine hellbent on punishment. With more technical, driving anthems like “Retribution,” yet catchy, evil bangers like “Slavior,”Denihilist have everything it takes to slit the listener’s throat and drain out every drop of human essence, burying them in an unmarked grave, with only the band’s debut EP as a Eulogy.
For Fans Of: Hail to the King (duh), Barrier, Rex, Demolisher, Oceano
By: Connor Welsh