Faithxtractor – Contempt for a Failed Dimension Review

Death metal was my first love. It began with a steamy night with Morbid Angel’s Domination during my freshman year of high school. Lust blossomed into torrid love, as I violently consumed everything the first decade of death metal had to offer. In recent years, something changed. The fire of my passion flickered as I watched the wrinkles form on old-school death metal’s face. I slapped Phobophilic with a respectable but middling 3.0 and riled up the masses; no one likes seeing a couple get into a fight. My 2022 top 10 only included a single death metal record (Aeternam), which sounded nothing like the music that made me swoon in high school. Contempt for a Failed Dimension, the fourth album from Ohio’s Faithxtractor, faced the unenviable situation of trying to overcome my cynicism and win me back. I have a personal announcement to make: death metal and I are getting back together.

In some clinical sense, Contempt for a Failed Dimension is exactly what you’d expect: a half-hour slab of hostile death metal. Much of the album throws down whirlwind riffs descended from the likes of Deicide and Cannibal Corpse. On the flip side, Faithxtractor often creates a menacing aura through fuzzy death-doom, mirroring bands like Phobophilic. Contempt for a Failed Dimensions never tries to be anything that it isn’t. There are no interludes, spoken samples, or “atmospheres” here. Faithxtractor understands that if you want to pulverize someone, it’s best to do so quickly. A brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Ash Thomas, Faithxtractor bears some resemblance to Thomas’ work in Shed the Skin, but dials back some of the melodic sensibilities and side quests in favor of a single-minded ambush. The two-person band is rounded out by Zdenka Prado, whose bass lines should have been more prominent but still rumble like an earthquake.

I’m tempted to say that Contempt for a Failed Dimension steamrolled me, but this doesn’t do justice to its feverish pace. Each track houses an inhumane number of riffs, and songs like “Relative First Occurrence” leave me reeling from their density. Faithxtractor makes this approach work by flooring me at every turn. The turbocharged shorter pieces like “Vomiting Proclamation” are a constant delight, with frantic changes in melody and tempo that make it impossible to tune out. Unlike most death metal, Faithxtractor grips me with slower material too. The most memorable riffs on the album are two lumbering behemoths on “Life Abnegation” and “Revenge Void Asphyxia,” whose crushing power reminds me of my first time listening to Autopsy’s Severed Survival. Even when the band strays from its formula, the results slay, like the terrifying Immolation worship tucked into the middle of “Relative First Occurrence.” Faithxtractor offers a tour through early death metal while sounding fresher than its like-minded peers.

Contempt for a Failed Dimension is a shining example of Chekhov’s gun in action; every piece is essential. Every time I thought I’d found an underdeveloped riff or an out-of-place solo, Faithxtractor’s alchemy proved me wrong. Every section that seems like a throwaway reappears later to stunning effect, like the seemingly-irrelevant opening melody of “Vomiting Proclamation” and the seemingly-unnecessary trills throughout “On Every Breath…A Curse.” Because of this cohesive writing, Contempt for a Failed Dimension has fantastic replay value. On every listen, I uncover new clever touches, like the triple-guitar relay race on “On Every Breath…A Curse” and the way the ending of “Relative First Occurrence” ties together four different riffs from earlier. At just shy of 30 minutes, Contempt for a Failed Dimension is a lesson in both conciseness and creativity.

As I’ve sometimes vented to Ferox, my takes on modern death metal have led me to uncomfortable questions. Was my former “love” of death metal merely an infatuation driven by novelty? Do I only like Morbid Angel because of my fond memories of high school? Faithxtractor has given me answers. I can’t pretend that Contempt for a Failed Dimension is innovative or varied. But it reminds me of why I fell in love with death metal, and it evokes vivid memories of the first time we met, mouths dry and hearts aflutter. I’ve learned two beautiful lessons here. First, it’s heartwarming when your partner acknowledges your needs and does their damnedest to transform their flaws into strengths. Second, in the subtle words of the promo materials, “SHUT THE FUCK UP & HEAD BANG!”

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: V2 mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: January 20th, 2023

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