Album: Chaotic Cycles
“Noxious” is a curious word that borrows from both scientific and colloquial definitions in order to make it an ideal name for this up and coming Virginian deathcore outfit. On one hand, it implies a chemical with a vesicant nature; an irritating fume from which one needs protection. On the other hand, it has come to mean something truly vile—something toxic and repulsive to the point of avoidance. Fortunately for Noxious, both definitions work just fine when it comes to describing their repugnant, relentlessly heavy brand of brutality. Chaotic Cycles uses deathcore, metalcore, slamming death metal and heavy hardcore all to create something fast, pissed and driven by pure adrenaline to inspire nothing but primal aggression into the listener. Where the band are young, they are prodigally talented in creating punishing music—making Chaotic Cycles a release that establish Noxious’ name not only as accurate, but well-earned.
Noxious is a pulverizing quartet that use a truly impressive array of influences to deliver nothing but unfiltered heaviness. Vicious Cycles is a remarkable testament to just that, from the pummeling percussion from Adam Polanco, to Tony Wyatt’s ruthless bass and guitarist Michael Herman’s hellishly intense fretwork—every aspect of Chaotic Cycles brings something to the table to terrify the listener. Songs like “Notches” and “Dissonant” see the group utilizing a strong splash of nu-metal derived influence—especially where Herman’s leads and grooves are concerned—whereas “Chaotic Cycles” and “Ignition” are, for lack of a better word, contemporary deathcore bangers with elements of groove metal and heavy hardcore tossed in for good measure. Here, Polanco’s drumming is nothing short of excellent, flashy and fast, blending technicality with punctual talent. Polanco works excellently with Herman, while Wyatt rumbles and grooves underneath, putting down a thick and gritty low end that adds heft and punch to Noxious’ earth-shattering breakdowns without missing a beat during the faster, riff-lead and scathing segments (like those on “Notorious”). The group work as an excellent trio, with Wyatt adding booming punch and elements of gritty hardcore between the nu-tinted, metallic and deathcore derived song structure that Polanco and Herman so expertly craft.
Chaotic Cycles earns its name not simply by instrumental intensity, but by Matt Gagnon’s grisly, ferocious work behind the microphone. Serving as the band’s frontman, Gagnon utilizes everything in his power to unleash living hell on the listener—ranging from blistering growls to screeching highs and haunting, half-spoken segments of nu-infused, haunting eeriness. Many a track witness Gagnon doing what he does best—with the introductory number showcasing his lower range and other tracks, “Ignition” among them, highlighting more variety in style as opposed to pure range. He brings a sharp edge to Noxious which helps overcome the slightly homogenous nature of the band’s record, contributing immensely with boundless energy to make sure each song remains as energetic and unique as it can possibly be. While many tracks warrant high praise for Gagnon (and the entire band by extension), “Notorious,” “Chaotic Cycles” and many of the cuts on the front half of the record deserve special attention.
While Noxious are a powerhouse of a band, they remain somewhat young and in need of finding a more consistent style. While many tracks on Chaotic Cycles draw from a huge variety of influences, the end result is a good, but somewhat unfocused album—such that some who love songs like the album’s intro or “Ignition” might find themselves put off by “Episodes” and some of the more heavily nu-influenced cuts the band have to offer. Because of this, Chaotic Cycles can feel like it lacks focus and direction, which, while not bad, may be divisive to many. Even in spite of this, Noxious are relentless in bringing brutal, bone-busting and invigorating music that ensures fans of just about anything fast, heavy and pissed will find something to enjoy.
For Fans Of: Bodysnatcher, Extortionist, Adhara, Edorra
By: Connor Welsh