Album: Terror Firma
One of the greatest weapons pathologists have in their arsenal is the fact that many major illnesses have a predictable “incubation period.” This can help track the origin and spread of a disease over a certain area and timeframe, giving global disease treatment agencies a palpable means of combating sicknesses that may not even have cures. However, imagine a disease that—once active—has no incubation period: it infects instantaneously, exhibiting symptoms without delay, crippling entire populations in moments?
Now what if I told you such a disease was at our doorstep, too immediate to possibly fight—what would you do? What could you do?
Like it or not, such is the case with the debut album by ultra-heavyweight deathcore outfit Osiah. Since the dawn of mankind and the birth of music, something sinister and aggressive has been brewing just out of earshot—growing more and more evil with each passing day—and it is finally poised to erupt in the form of this UK quintet’s Siege Records debut, Terror Firma. Crushing and creative, drawing from slamming and brutal death metal with as much ease as they draw from traditional deathcore and hardcore, Osiah are an oppressive melting pot of immeasurable intensity. Belligerent, brutalizing and brash from start to finish, the world is woefully unprepared for what this comprehensively crushing quintet have to offer.
Instrumentally, Osiah use just about every tactic imaginable to shrink the listener’s spine with their practically immeasurable heaviness. Need Mach-speed blast beats or blitzkrieging footwork that seems beyond belief? Percussionist Bradie Nixon has you covered. From the first gloomy, monstrous breakdown of “Hellbound,” Nixon’s percussion is a twelve-ton steamroller, working with Andy Mallaby’s malicious, murky bass to level everything in its path. This is true of the more slam-oriented moments of aggression—like those in “Brokden” or the hyperspeed, hectic introduction to “The Harvesting,” just as its true of the more traditional deathcore-oriented moments throughout Terror Firma. Where “The Harvesting” channels both slamming death metal and atmospheric black metal both, songs like the brief “L4D” and the barbaric, beatdown-tinted “Street Justice” lean heavily on plays out of old-school deathcore play books—sounding reminiscent of Jerome, Kangaz Korva or Annotations of an Autopsy. Here, guitarists Chris Keepin and Rownan Tennet are groovier and more simplistic than they are on songs like “The Harvesting” or “Planetary Injection.” Keepin and Tennet are more than capable at keeping up with anything Nixon throws at them—whether it’s the unbelievable speed in the introduction to “The Harvesting” or gloomy, atmospheric devastation during the song’s conclusion. The duo are technically savvy just as they are remarkable at crafting straightforward segments of skull-piercing heaviness—where “Humanimals” and “Conceived Through Ignorance” truly shine. The takeaway here is that Osiah’s debut full length album is a lengthy display of instrumental prowess, where every musician plays a crucial role in contributing to the diverse showcase of complete and total annihilation Terror Firma simply is.
If you thought Osiah’s plague of punishing putrefaction upon the earth ended with their eviscerating instrumentation, think again. Frontman Ricky Lee Roper, simply put, is one of the best vocalists in a genre with no shortage of talent. If the goregrind-styled gurgle in “Brokden” doesn’t convince you, then maybe the 2007-era deathcore brees and squees on “Humanimals” will—let alone his shrill screams and grisly gutturals throughout the remainder of Terror Firma. “Plague World” again sees him flexing his figurative (and also likely his literal) muscles—showing off with a bone-chilling pig squeal that takes a detour at a low bellow before dropping into a prolapse-inducing guttural that will likely have the listener’s colon voided in milliseconds. Roper’s vocal prowess–while pronounced on Osiah’s debut EP—has come miles (or kilometers) since then, as his variety, visceral intensity and stamina are simply unmatched. Roper manages to fill nearly every minute of the nearly-hour long album with vocal prowess without sounding monotonous once. If that isn’t an apt testament to his prowess, I don’t know what is.
Want bouncy, fun aggression? “Plague World” is your new best friend. Maybe you want slam-tinted brutality a la Ingested or Slaughter to Prevail? Look no further than “Dethronement of Gods” or “The Harvesting.” Maybe you just really miss Annotations of an Autopsy’s Bree-laden penchant for breakdowns? Really, all of Terror Firma is going to become your playground. Osiah’s debut full-length takes what made deathcore’s early days great and re-vamps it with a contemporary twist of atmospheric and slamming death metal(s) both. While artists like Despised Icon are largely credited with the 2016 deathcore revival, Osiah’s latest offering is then throwing their hat into the ring—going head to head with some of the genre’s most universally loved releases to prove they have what it takes to infect the ears and minds of the heavy-music loving masses too.
For Fans Of: Annotations of an Autopsy, Bound By Exile, Oceano, Ingested, Slaughter to Prevail
By: Connor Welsh
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