Colossus – Degenesis Review

The year is in full swing and the flood of metal releases continues to overflow in the AMG promo portal. Of course there’s always an element of risk in blindly plucking albums from the portal. Unless I am feeling in a particularly risky or adventurous mood, I scout for releases that fall into my genre wheelhouse, and death metal tends to attract me like moth to flame. Especially after such a splendid year for the genre in 2020, the hope is for at least a handful of review assignments will throw up something special in 2021. The trio of musicians comprising freshly minted death metal outfit Colossus are equipped with background experience in the metal underground, via acts such as Lividity, Cryptic Fog, and Cereviscera. Despite being a new entity, basically the members are seasoned in the game, unleashing a debut album of brutal, technically proficient death.

Degenesis is a modern slab ‘o death, as Colossus pound out tunes with attitude and an even helping of tech, brutal and slam death. On paper the musical recipe holds great appeal, treading territory of such similarly inclined, fun and accomplished acts like Wormhole and Cytoxin. Condensed into a lean and mean assault that clocks in at a mere 25 minutes, spiking the EP vs LP debate, this digestible runtime should at least bode well for short, sharp listening sessions. Indeed the album blazes and pummels by in an sci-fi/Alien inspired adventure that shifts between blinding bursts of rugged, technical brutality, rapid blasts, chunky slam grooves, and spaced out explorations. From a technical standpoint, and weighing in solidly on the brutality scale, Colossus get the job done. However, the musical ingredients and accomplished musicianship cannot quite overcome the album’s songwriting deficiencies.

Grasping any shred of memorability or truly interesting moments is an elusive task that I was unable to overcome across multiple listens. While the bass playing is excellent throughout, the guitar work is far less impressive, with a worrying lack of notable riffs to complement the fast fingered shreddery and blurring whizz of technically impressive, but forgettable chops. The writing tends to blur into a singular mass, with little about the individual songs or collective whole to get particularly excited about. I even found my mind wandering on occasions due to lack of interest and engagement in large portions of what Colossus serve up, intense delivery aside. That said, there are certainly glimpses of greater potential on more dynamic, hefty cuts like “Abysmal Tectonic Tyrants,” and the frantic throes of “Malignant Eye of Inexorable Ruin.” But deeper engagement and immersion is largely fleeting.

Steven Chavez (bass, vocals) overshadows his bandmates, and is the album’s star. Vocally sharing duties with drummer Dan Klein, the meaty vocal attack is serviceable but hardly remarkable. However, when it comes to slinging fat bass throbbings with melodic flair and technical authority, Chavez delivers. His skills lend the album some welcome flair and serious low-end substance. However, the guitar work is far less remarkable and attention grabbing, despite the obvious technical proficiency. An album of such brevity leaves little room for filler. which boggles the mind when the band decide to tack aimless, meandering atmospheric soundscapes and samples to close out every damn track. This apparent thematic and artistic choice flattens momentum and seriously disrupts the flow.

For all the schmick musical skills on display, and uncompromising brutality, Degenesis is a deeply flawed album that’s difficult to recommend, especially when there are far superior examples whipping tech, slam and brutal death into powerhouse cocktails of destruction. The songs simply don’t stack up, and the whole package feels bland and devoid of particularly interesting or memorable writing. Some isolated strong points and a commanding bass performance can’t smooth over the significant cracks in the writing and execution, rendering the album a missed opportunity.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Comatose Music
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 5th, 2021

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