Imagine, if you will, the state of mankind. Bereft of morality, kindness and brotherhood all but forgotten; the species is in a state of spiritual debt, so to speak. The things that guided once guided us toward progression—quests for knowledge, truth, redemption, etcetera—lead us only to a state of complete and utter desolation.
The year is 2018, and the human condition as we know it has been annihilated and replaced with something bitter, brooding, evil while being simultaneously chaotic and oppressive—laden with the most destructive kind of gloomy, gut-wrenching aggression. That something is the long-awaited, aptly named record by Sectioned. Annihilated is nothing short of breathtaking in its approach to contemporary mathcore (if that’s even still a “thing”)—combining thrashy, fast-and-pissed hardcore with the spastic forays into downtuned brutality akin to a deathcore act, and the wild, rambunctious and wonton lust for mania that one might expect from a grindcore band of a previous decade, Sectioned are all over the place in the best way possible, and Annihilated is proof of it. Vaguely depressive and brooding while destructive to a tee, the band provide just over forty minutes of fury with only rare moments of rest, leaving the listener’s mind numbed and eviscerated—or rather, annihilated—by the time they’re finished.
The structured, carefully crafted chaos created by Sectioned is the same kind of marvel one takes in a natural disaster—a blend of respect, awe and fear that strikes fast and deep into the listener’s heart by way of their ears. Songs like “Annihilated,” the opening number, and “Toothgrinder” highlight this, exemplifying fast and furious percussion that blends technicality with pure insanity. Ferocious fills and fleet feet define the drumming throughout Annihilated, best simplified as the kind of rambunctious percussion that constitutes a full-body cardiovascular workout. “Synchronicity,” even as a more simple and brute-force number still shows off speed, with sharp snares contrasting splashy cymbals. Whats more, the eerie closing section to “Synchronicity” sees the bass truly emerge from the depths of Sectioned’s chaotic dynamic, rumbling along as the drums build and break beneath it like a high tide. Throughout Annihilated, the bass takes a cardinal role in adding heft and firmament to the scattered and energetic percussion, linking the latter together with spastic, frenzied fretwork that ranges from low, girthy grooves to blistering leads and dissonant chords that dive hither and to into skull-splintering, spine-shrinking breakdowns. “Betrayer” highlights this as well as “Toothgrinder” or “Victorious, Neverending” (even as the latter channels a distinctly grindcore-esque vibe throughout its first minute-or-more). Sectioned simply can’t be stopped, and even at their most whimsical and eccentric moments of chaotic, crushing cruelty, there is simply no questioning how brilliantly the band work together—emphasizing the organized aspect of the aforementioned “organized” chaos that defines the band’s take on heavy music.
Not to be outdone by the outrageous instrumentation abundant on Annhilated, the vocal effort put forth by Sectioned on this immolating release is just that—scathing and intense. The harshly spat and frantically screeched syllables that dominate the album’s vibe from the first seconds of “Annihilated” don’t really let up throughout the lion’s share of the album’s hefty run time—with the exception of the back half of “Through the Trees” and sparse other sections of songs where dissonance or unmatchable musical insanity takes dominance. However, where the vocals stand out, they really stand out, with low bellows on “Life’s True Beauty” and “Bete Noire” striking a remarkable and ruthless contrast against the shrill yells of “Victorious, Neverending” or “Portrait.” What might be just as—if not more—impressive than the range boasted by Sectioned’s stellar frontman is the energy and cadence, which manages to keep pace and time with a great bulk of many of the songs, even where things go from “fast” to “what the hell was that?” The point is that the group have an awesome dynamic—this is as true of their instrumental component as it is of their vocal work, and especially where the two meet.
“Mathcore” might not be a dying genre, but it definitely isn’t growing—or rather, wasn’t growing—because with Sectioned’s debut full-length release, the band prove that this old dog can still let loose with a couple new tricks. Annihilated is pulverizing from start to finish, and fans of the genre’s roots and newcomers alike have something to love within it’s confines. While it’s a dense adventure into extreme music, it isn’t without payoff, because anyone who gives it the time to really soak in and unwind will almost certainly recognize the sound of a band bordering on releasing a truly classic album.
For Fans Of: War From a Harlot’s Mouth, Frontierer, the year 2008.
By: Connor Welsh