Album: Possession EP
Ah, how we are so obsessed with being king. Countless empires have been held captive, crushed and reformed in one man’s quest for kingship, and entire societies have perished, battling in the name of the one they deem as their leader, their—you guessed it—king. After all, there’s a reason the moniker it’s good to be king came about—but don’t take my word for it, let Texas-based titans of tumultuous, devastating deathcore Rex convince you. Coming from the Latin literal translation for “king,” and associated with such bastions of fearsome power like tyrannosaurus Rex, this quartet is out for blood, and with their latest EP, Possession, they are bound to get it. Quintessentially crushing, relentlessly ravaging and anger at its most pure and visceral, Possession is an EP that will break every bone and tear every scrap of skin in its quest to take over the listener’s mind—where it will remain stuck until the end of days.
Rex’s reign of relentless heaviness begins with deep, booming percussion and foreboding, ominous guitar—courtesy of Jose Puga and John Dudek respectively. “Manifest” is a brief, but scintillating lesson in the brutalizing dynamic that Puga and Dudek quickly establish. Puga’s percussion is nothing short of punishing—whether it’s the lopsided, beefy candor of his kick drum in “Manifest,” or the splashy, skin-scalding blast beats tossed into the fray on “Possession”—Puga is at the top of heavy music’s percussion game. Likewise, Dudek manages to incorporate versatility and variety into a genre which is notoriously homogenous when it comes to both guitar tone and riff work. “Manifest,” and it’s follow-up track “Regression” are nothing but thick, back-to-back slabs of still-bleeding meat; amplified by Dudek’s dialectic riffing with bassist Brian Morales’ merciless, booming fretwork. However, “Mind Trap” showcases Dudek blackening his raw, thick meaty style, adding grooves and ambience into his fretwork that create cavernous, sky-scraping castles of crushing dissonance—castles that are sent crashing earthbound when Morales’ bass work clashes with Puga’s percussion to create deep, earth-crumbling tones of unfathomable girth that redefine heaviness as the listener knows it.
While Puga and his cohorts aren’t cracking the earth into pieces with instrumental intensity, Rex are towering sky-high above their peers with an iron fist using pure vocal prowess. Frontman Anthony Alexander takes the throne with a thick, beefy vocal style that perfectly blends with the band’s instrumentation. Throughout every second of Possession, Alexander is letting loose with vocals that preach pure hate and punishment, using a vocal styles that advocates the same. “Regression”—as well as his opening onomonopaeic growl in “Manifest”—are picture perfect evidence of this. As his screams and growls are not simply perfect in tone and depth, but their rate, pace and candor fit their canvas perfectly, providing an all-inclusive soundscape of perfectly portrayed bitter, brooding angst—and the uncontrollable anger that comes forthwith.
The result of Rex’s dynamic instrumental and vocal interplay is a style of down-tempo deathcore that is original and refreshing—a style immensely improved over the inklings at dynamism hinted at on their debut demo. “Mind Trap” is a dismal, dynamic journey through caves and caverns of crushing dissonance, while “Possession” is a lesson in perfect, raunchy and lurid heaviness. Each attitude and atmosphere that Rex set out to establish on Possession is more than reached, but rather nailed, crafted in the very image of musical perfection. Admittedly, while Rex might not create a mind-melting blend of previously uncombined genres, or fail to create dizzying, technical music, they still dizzy the listener, melting their mind with pure musical heat. Every second of Possession will have the listener mesmerized, completely brainwashed and—yep, possessed—by the dynamic and filthy perfection of immense, over-the-top heavy music.
It might not feel good to be king, but it has to feel good to be Rex. For after the perfection of their unique take on down-tempo destruction, they are poised to take over the scene and crown themselves as ruler. Possession is a perfectly mixed and marvelously composed testament to heavy music—a testament that places Rex at the reigns of raunchy, relentless music worldwide.
For Fans Of: Continent, Traitors, Beacons, Deity, Extortionist, Black Tongue
By: Connor Welsh