Postmortem Promises

On Broken Foundations

Written by: BL on 01/09/2011 19:06:31

I don't often listen to deathcore these days, but when I do I want to make sure it's good enough to set my house on fire. Normally it needs unrelenting aggression, instruments that sound like the end of the world, and a fair dose of four dimensional technicality all to go with the inevitable slosh of mindnumbing breakdowns and whatnot. Essex, UK's Postmortem Promises' debut album "On Broken Foundations" doesn't really deliver many of these things sad to say and is strictly only for the more hardcore deathcore fans (both figuratively and literally). The barren soundscape of the ten tracks here are mostly mundane excercises in how to excessively chug your listener to death, which doesn't exactly sound riveting enough to keep me awake late at night (trust me it didn't). Theres also some irony to be had in the name "Postmortem Promises" when as of writing the band is now apparently defunct.

To spare everybody a truly exhaustive analysis on how to have as many sluggish, 'groovy' breakdowns in your songs as much as possible, I'll just say that a lot of the songs on this album sound so frustratingly dull and similar to each other it really tests even my patience. When you see the cool album cover they have, and hear the first thirty seconds of introduction track "Nihilistic", you kind of expect something more menacing than what is presented imediately on from thirty seconds. In fact you kind of expect more all round, the guitars for better or worse rarely seem to create any kind of memorable riffs other than stuff you've heard a million times already in other bigger (and better) deathcore bands, the same could be said about the other instruments as well. A tendency to cross over into more hardcore territory with faster tempos and two-step rhythms starting from "Weakness In The Chain" make up most of the early musical variations and kind of hint that perhaps the band are trying to stay a bit more away from more technical guitar deathcore like Whitechapel of All Shall Perish. One of the few positive and frankly striking exceptions to be found here is on "Self Righteous", which out of nowhere springs forth a wild flourishing, long, and almost neo-classical guitar solo like a beacon of light shining in the bowels of hell. Though even that really only causes more irritation when nothing else remotely like it is to be found elsewhere on the album. Another part I somewhat enjoyed was the short The Black Dahlia Murder impression on "Beast Of The Black Forest" at about one minute fifty two in.

Guitar woes aside, vocalist Aaron Ketley may have a bit more range than one could give him credit for early on due to all the unwavering low death growls but its hard to tell otherwise, where his pronounciation could use a little work when he sinks too low but has plenty of tone for the part. Mediocre higher growls and screams and even pig squeals on "Sickening" and "Beast Of The Black Forest" eventually work their way into the mix throughout the remainder of the album though frankly do little to shake the feeling of monotony as far as vocals are concerned. Surprisingly his absence on "On Broken Foundations pt. II" made it a more lasting track despite critical levels of chug present, the latter half of the song utilising some simple but clever ambience alongside the breakdown. The only other song to look out for here is the closer "Moments Shall Perish" which similar has a nice outro, more ambient guitars around the breakdown fade to some mildly cheesy piano.

I've tried hard to not be too aggressive or harsh with my negative criticisms, knowing that it can go either way for me in terms of listening to breakdown heavy deathcore (I mean I liked Oceano's crushing debut for example). However "On Broken Foundations" perhaps is more telling as a truth than just the album name. It tries to be devastingly heavy, but onslaughts of repetitive breakdowns and death growls doesn't do the trick unfortunately, and they drown out the few decent parts to be heard otherwise. Frankly I guess it doesn't really matter what I've said now anyway since the band are no longer together, but if you do see this nearby, approach with caution.


Download: Self Righteous, On Broken Foundations pt. II, Moments Shall Perish
For the fans of: Chelsea Grin, Oceano, Desolated, breakdowns
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 24.04.2010
Siege Of Amida Records

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