REVIEW: Existence Has Failed Do Everything BUT Fail on Birthrite [2021]

Artist: Existence Has Failed

Album: Birthrite

            The conditions under which one is born and within one spends their formative years plays a massive role in how their outlook on life and the world in general is formed throughout their adolescent, teen and early adult years. There is, arguably, no better example of this dialectic than a comparison between those born into wealth and those born into poverty. Everything—from money alone to the context in which money is earned and spent—takes on a different meaning. This isn’t to say one is “right” and one is “wrong,” but simply to illustrate the point that circumstance alone dictates a significant amount of both nature and nurture when It comes to examining how any given person develops their own world view. With that in mind, when one listens to the long-awaited full length, Birthrite, by established Floridian deathcore juggernauts Existence Has Failed, it becomes difficult for one to imagine the exact circumstances that could lead these gentlemen to make such a relentlessly heavy record. Combining riff-heavy elements of death metal and hardcore with deathcore’s pre-existing proclivity for the almighty breakdown, Birthrite is a scintillating, bone-busting record that touches on everything from racial inequality, socioeconomic strife and introspective struggles with loss, death and depression in its comprehensive approach to creating a crushing record.

            With songs like “Prominence Burn” and “Family Heirloom” bringing a bouncy, energetic dynamic to counter the belligerent brutality summoned by “Rotten” and “Dead Dawn,” Existence Has Failed’s Birthrite stands a dynamic and engaging example of contemporary deathcore done right. Where many modern deathcore bands are either some of a few remaining old school heavyweights or new bands with a bland take on the genre, Existence Has Failed join kindred spirits in acts like Crown Magnetar and Betrayer to be in a select few “new” acts that create compelling and immense contributions to the genre. Birthrite is home to a percussive display that, in layman’s terms, simply smacks. With songs like “Prominence Burn” and “Jawbreaker” sticking with a moderate, bouncy pace, many songs—“Rotten,” and the record’s titular track especially—are capable of oscillating between languishing, mammoth patterns and blistering blast beats without faltering. Just as impressive, if not more so, the band incorporate large, thematic riffs that work in marked dynamism with gut-busting chugs to create monstrous heaviness without compromising depth and instrumental dynamism. “Jawbreaker” is an excellent example—where a contagiously catchy lead segues into a bouncy-as-rubber breakdown before diving into a maelstrom of metallic chaos, all led by the band’s intrepid fretwork. Ultimately, Existence Has Failed use their bass and guitar to keep things on the heavier end of the spectrum, however there are those tracks like “Jawbreaker” and “Rotten” where riffs reign supreme. Here, the more diverse aspects of Existence Has Failed rear their head, taking Birthrite’s instrumentation from “fun” to “fantastic.”

            One of the things I love about deathcore are the minute regional trends one can discern from the bands of different locales—especially prominent (in my opinion) when it comes to vocals. Those of you previously indoctrinated into the world of Floridian (especially South Floridian) deathcore hopefully catch my drift. When it comes to uncompromising meaty and malevolent vocals, Birthritebrings it 100%. The band rely predominantly on grisly bellows and periodic transitions into screeching high screams and late-2000s brees (for flair). From the get-go of “Rotten,” the band’s vocal effort is nothing short of immense. Where things get crazy, however, is with the vocal feature (and insanely ignorant-in-the-best-way mosh call) that concludes “Prominence Burn.” From here on out, the listener is subjected to “King of Destruction” and “Jawbreaker,” two more cuts that further solidify Existence Has Failed’s vocal dominance.

            Birthrite is a huge record—especially considering it’s the first offering from Existence Has Failed in a considerable amount of time and it serves as their debut full-length offering. Layers upon layers of grisly, visceral deathcore meat are brought to polished perfection by Chris Whited and slammed right into the listener’s head without any second thought—Hell, even the instrumental interlude is heavy as elephant shit. The point is that Existence Has Failed have brought a fun, catchy, energetic and heavy deathcore record with social, political and emotional weight behind it to give it depth beyond that of rumbling dissonance and copious downtuning—which should make it an early must-listen for fanatics of all things heavy.


For Fans Of: Bodysnatcher, Betrayer, Crown Magnetar

By: Connor Welsh