Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Written by: PP on 16/03/2016 20:58:31
When deathcore began its resurgence alongside metalcore throughout the mid-2000s, the goal was seemingly to obliterate the listener by sounding as heavily down-tuned as possible through low-end, one-chord breakdowns on repeat for minutes on end. Today, most deathcore giants sound nothing like their early releases. Whitechapel, Despised Icon, Job For A Cowboy, Suicide Silence, and Carnifex have all gradually shifted towards modern death metal, leaving the senseless brutality dynamic largely to beatdown bands that weren't concerned with the morbid atmospherics rather than just, well, beating down the listener with slam dance sessions (Nasty: I'm looking at you). As a result, Copenhagen's brand new deathcore outfit CABAL find themselves in an interesting niché, stylistically sounding like deathcore revivalists in the sense that few bands today are releasing material in the vein of the original deathcore wave ten years ago. Viewed in that context "Purge" is an excellent title for their debut EP since it effectively purges the death metal out of the soundscape and returns deathcore to what popularized it in the first place: an eerie atmosphere of haunting evil adding a contrasting element and a subtle sense of melody into an otherwise brutal and unforgiving breakdown fest.
That being said, "Purge" EP is not necessarily a retrospective nor does it feel dated. Instead, it breathes a fresh perspective into a genre that has long needed revitalization, and it does so through competent instrumentation, but more importantly, through good songwriting that is about more than just out-brutalizing their peers. That shouldn't come as a surprise considering their lineup reads ex-members of Scarred By Beauty, New Discolour, and Embracing Sickness, all bands you will recognize from the Danish metal scene if you've been paying attention in the last few years. So although the soundscape is based on brutal deathcore from the beatdown school of thought with bone-crushing breakdowns dominating the expression, Cabal take utmost care in keeping the instrumentals more interesting than that. There are constant ominous atmospherics adding a layer of impending menace on top of the simplistic beatdown riffs and discordant horror chords, and their vocalist utilizes a hefty range of different styles to avoid the monotone trap. Guttural growls shift into shrieks and screams, and back to thick growls that Job For A Cowboy's Jonny Davy would approve, resulting in a varied and oddly catchy vocal expression that certainly took this reviewer by surprise.
With five tracks spanning across just under nineteen minutes, CABAL prove song after song that there's something alive and breathing within the deathcore corpse. "Purge EP" is one of the most memorable releases I've heard in the genre for a while, and certainly a candidate for the best deathcore release to date in Denmark.
Download: Innocent Blood, Cursed, Purge
For the fans of: Black Tongue, Oceano, Thy Art Is Murder
Release date 07.03.2016