REVIEW: Denihilist – Sacrification [EP/2017]

Artist: Denihilist 

Album: Sacrification – EP 


You awake in an unfamiliar place, eyes still adjusting to the darkness—nose burning from the acrid odor. You can barely orient yourself, eyes oscillating in and out of focus, staring hellbent at the room’s single light. 

It goes out. Everything is dark. You are plunged into an abyssal pitch the likes of which makes molten tar look like sunshine. Then—slowly at first, then all at once—the darkness begins to take you. It climbs inside your ears first, reaching its thin, pulsing tentacles into the gyri and sulci of your auditory cortices. Then it enters through your nose and your mouth—the openings of your tear ducts and the pores of your skin. It enters you any way it can, taking every ounce of innocence and purity it can. You surrender yourself because it’s all you can do; acceptance just makes everything that much easier. 

You have become a victim of Sacrification. 

The latest EP by midwestern deathcore outfit Denihilist, Sacrification is an all-consuming display of ravenous aggression. Laden with lurid, soul-smothering groove and spine-shredding brutality defined by bounce, brutality and bold, no-holds-barred power, Denihilist take a swing at anything within striking distance, beating the pulp out of the listener and anyone who gives their distinct, dynamic and deadly blend heavy music stylings a chance.  

Sacrification continues along the same groovy infusion of deathcore and metal that helped forge them into the juggernaut of awe-inspiring aggression that they’ve become. From the eerie, ominous and dark tones set by the album’s introductory track, throughout “Evocation” and “Cowardice,” to the very last, chill-inducing chug, Sacrification works its way inside the listener’s skull and bores it out like an augur, draining every ounce of positivity and happiness to be found within the listener’s brain. Syphoning out every smile and replacing it with sludge, Denihilist capture the very essence of bouncy heaviness—and it starts with the raunchy and creative drumming from Drew Creager. Creager crushes everything he touches—like a Midas touch of lead and despair. From the incredible patterns in “Evocation,” through the catchy breakdowns of “Bohemia,” Creager works his ass off to pave a powerful and technically prominent foundation for the band to build atop—whether it be Austin Shock’s stellar, grimy bass grooves or Darick Faul’s furious fretwork. Shock’s bass—especially throughout the EP’s closing number—is booming and cacophonous, adding heft and might to every one of Creager’s kick drum hits and every thick chug Faul puts forth. The result are breakdowns like those that make Denihilist such a unique band—hitting with the intensity and aggression of a downtempo deathcore outfit, but moving with the fluidity and smooth, practiced care of a polished, bordering on progressive, band. Every instance of Creager’s creativity and Shock’s low end culminates behind Faul’s fretwork, which is riff-heavy and monstrous on “Cowardice,” yet as rubbery as flubber and as weighty as a wrecking ball on “Bohemia,” and every track in between fills the gaps that define the band’s all-encompassing spectrum of heavy music mastery.   

There is an unmistakable barbaric candor to the brutalizing instrumentation employed by Denihilist—every groove, chug and immense riff simply reeks of havoc and mayhem. This rollicking and ruthless display of devastation is amplified by the grotesque and positively scathing vocal efforts put forth by frontman Jordan Melsop. Since his addition to the band and their debut release as Denihilist, Melsop has been bringing nothing but insanity; something that doesn’t change with Sacrification. Take, for example, the absolutely incredible vocals throughout “Bohemia,” where Melsop’s repeated cries of “bohemian grove” get snared in the listener’s head like a beart trap clenching down on their temples, bleeding them out like a sieve. Then, there are the low, grisly bellows throughout “Evocation,: or the closing track, both of which putting a special light on Melsop’s lower end. Every track features Melsop’s meaty vocals doing what they do best, dominating with a hefty, hellish energy that trudges along, trampling the listener between belted, burly bellows and quick, shrill, rasping and rapidly patterned segments drawing drastically from influences even extending to hip-hop’s bouncy candor, bewildering the listener with speed and skill both. 

Speed and Skill might be two words that define Denihilist, but so are heavy, absurd, barbaric and immense. In short, there isn’t much that can be done to stop Sacrification once it really gets going. It is groovy and grisly, thoroughly real in its relentless attack on the listener’s sanity—yet still more than capable of slow, sludgy and abrasive brutality. Sacrification is as filthy and furious as one would expect from the band—and if you weren’t sure what to expect, you’d best listen for yourself and let Denihilist’s unique breed of evil consume you. 



For Fans Of: God of Nothing, Traitors, Bodysnatcher, In Dying Arms 

By: Connor Welsh