Album: Labyrinths of Dark Energy
Everyone knows someone who manages to remain optimistic even in the face of the most stark adversity. No matter the odds, no matter the stakes or what has already been lost, there’s always that guy—we all know him (or her). Sometimes it’s uplifting, others, downright irritating, but it’s always there.
Even in the minds with the brightest outlook, there remains darkness. The nagging pessimism that reminds them of their failures—of the persistent risk of negativity’s victory—and even if they can suppress its exposure to others, they can never suppress it from themselves. Splatterpuss capture that energy and expand it, stretching darkness over nearly a half an hour of slamming madness with their 2018 full-length record, Labyrinths of Dark Energy. Capturing dismal brutality with an effortless demeanor and recreating it throughout the eight-track adventure, Splatterpuss slam their way right through the listener’s skull with the tact of a freight train and the grisly intensity of a point-blank 12 gauge shotgun round to the head. A mixture of gritty evisceration and raunchy, bouncy heaviness, Labyrinths Of Dark Energy is a crushing offering for Fans Of deathcore, slamming brutal death metal and anything that operates in the extremes of the heavy music spectrum.
Splatterpuss quickly differentiate themselves from the slam-influenced deathcore horde in two facets—better production and more diverse song structure. Percussionist Mason Page isn’t satisfied to alternate between blast beats and blitzing double kick strokes for the entirety of Labyrinths Of Dark Energy, instead adding boatloads of ride bell into the mix with aspects of groovy, catchier elements snuck into the rare subtle portions Splatterpuss put forth. “Past the Shadows” is one such excellent example, as is “Synthetic Patterns Of Struggle,” Where Page is both quick, crushing and—above all—creative, working diligently with bassist Nick McClounan. McClounan, unlike many bassists in the genre, isn’t simply relegated to the unintelligible, murky depths of the band’s low end. Instead, he can be heard snapping and plunking along in just about every track, especially “Lucid Vexations,” where his fretwork rivals that of guitarists Fraser Ray and Jason Leombruni. Where Ray and Leombrubi add a vast majority of Splatterpuss’ slamming proclivity, McClounan is right there with them, adding heat and punch as he simultaneously adds groovy undertones to the quicker, riffy moments (like those in “Synthetic Patterns Of Struggle” and “The Further…”). in most bands, the guitarists seem to work in splendid isolation with respect to the bass, but in the case of Splatterpuss’ Ray and Leombruni, they work excellently with bassist McClounan to create and ruthlessly heavy dynamic.
With a murderous maelstrom of malevolent slamming mayhem as their musical background, Splatterpuss’ powerhouse, punishing dynamic is rounded out by frontman Matt Turkington. Turkington—working alongside several Death metal and slamming death greats—puts forth one Hell of a display on Labyrinths Of Dark Energy. “Lucid Vexations” is but one example of his excellence, slaughtering the listeners sanity with grisly bellows and guttural gurgles between bouts of hard-hitting low-and-mid range tells. Meanwhile, “An Intrinsic Void” and “The Comparing Mind” are more examples of Turkington’s talents. True enough—Turkington doesn’t go too far above and beyond the standard fair for slam-infused deathcore, but he does what he does brilliantly, and the scant guest appearances throughout Labyrinths do a solid job of adding dynamism to the vocal elements of the release. Turkington is simply tremendous from start to finish, and his work with Splatterpuss on this record is a prime example. No frills, no superfluous add-one, and only enough gimmicky samples to give Labyrinths a sense of humor, Splatterpuss (and Turkington) give a well-rounded and ruthless show fit for fans of anything extreme.
Labyrinths of Dark Energy truly capitalizes on the dark aspect of its name, as the practically-half-hour release starts grim and only gets more so. Bitter, brooding and brutalizing for its entirety, Splatterpuss take elements of slam and deathcore and toss the whole mess in a blender, making it smooth and giving it appeal to even skeptics of the genre(s). While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does serve as one of 2018’s first stand-out super-heavy albums, and gives plenty of spin-kicking, hammer-wielding, hard-hitting moments for just about everyone.
For Fans Of: Mental Cruelty, Vulvodynia, Gamma Sector, Devourment
By: Connor Welsh