Since first cozying up to Dormant Ordeal one sleepy summer Saturday, the thundering masterclass has hardly left my rotation. Perhaps not the finest death metal to ever emigrate from Poland, We Had It Coming nonetheless evokes a primal emotion that renders it impossible to extract rational thought from the perpetual desire to blast this savage motherfucker from the rooftops. In the same fashion that the crystallization of memories, however mundane, can lay dormant in the soul for years, activated only by a prick of nostalgia, a certain scent or taste of air, so to shall my 2016 forever be tethered to Dormant Ordeal. If I pen only a single TYMHM, I am glad it is this one, because We Had It Coming has been my dearest friend in a year short on truly shining death releases.
Siphoning from the reservoir of technicality and precision embedded in their birthright, the Poles unleash a tidal wave of death metal born of Decapitated but retaining a disquieting menace that lurks just beneath its pile driving characteristics. We Had It Coming bashes its way through angular cut-outs and tantalizing rhythms, placing stone after stone on your chest for 33 sublime minutes. From the very start of “The Mist,” a chaotic atmosphere emerges from the onslaught of crushing vocals and intertwined drum-and-chug rhythms. The semi-permanent state of unease pervading the album relies heavily on discordant guitar layering and highly effective stutter-step riffs. Oblique, bite-sized tremolos play off cascading tom-thumping on “Stoning” to heighten this contentiousness before “A Dim Reminder” slips into a more brutal setting. The trem-riffing is still present but willingly stepped back; the cut’s breakneck pace and Maciej Proficz’s proficient roars prove Dormant Ordeal can captivate on multiple levels.
The absence of wankery and indulgence happily avoids the potential pitfalls of heavy technical inclinations, as no piece of the final product feels out-of-place. In fact, the cohesion inherent in We Had It Coming may be Dormant Ordeal’s greatest strength, roping together tumultuous individual performances that could just as easily have devolved into cacophony. Maciej Nieścioruk’s masterful layered axe-work acts as the album’s adhesive, enticing and evocative but never demanding more attention than necessary. Of note is the drum machine precision of Radek Kowal’s performance, laying the groundwork for rampaging earworm hooks as unexpected as they are brutal.
The album leaves room for a bit more exploration — perhaps a step farther away from their primary influences – though this is only a minor complaint. “Derangement Zone pt.1” and “Sleeping Grounds” throw necessary pacing change-ups, but the back half of the album handles its opportunities identically to the front. I cannot gripe too much, as the quality never declines. Second-halfer “Conspiracy Within” distills a myriad of Ulcerate and Nile comparisons into the purest shot of adrenaline on the album. Call any aspirations for the next album something to look forward to, as Dormant Ordeal have done more than enough to win a repeat customer. WHIC is available for Name Your Price on Bandcamp, so treat yourself to some Poldeath today.
Tracks to Check Out: “The Mist,” “Stoning,” and “Conspiracy Within”