Though the list of bizarre shit to be experienced and eventually incorporated into the norm only continues to grow, there are still some things that you just don’t expect to actually encounter for yourself. Cheese-stuffed fried chicken, lapdogs that aren’t insufferable yippy shits, an album brutal enough for Kronos… each of these wonderful oddities exists, but they’re hard at work being hard to find and proving my point. Among this list of wonderment and rarity is deathcore that I can tolerate beyond 15 seconds. Truth be told, I enjoy the shit out of the genre in a live environment, but when processed through a discerning lens in a personal, more peaceful environment, rarely does deathcore hold up on headphones half as well as it does on paper and stage. That said, it does happen from time to time, and Obliterate have done it…
Again! Impending Death is the Canadians’ second time beating down the block, and they’ve certainly fuckin done it this time around. Look no further than the embedded track for a blast of brutal, tightly executed and slightly progressive deathcore in the filthy yet melodic vein of Delta. As of this sentence, I have no idea what said embedded track will be, but I’m right and you’re welcome. Be it “Aneurysm,” “Reconquered,” literally any of Impending Death‘s 8 tracks, the album is consistently comprised of carefully coordinated chaos and calamity, the kind that kicks you in the kidmaker and causes you to crave its continuance. Furthermore, the organic cohesion of the tracks allows – practically demands – the album to do its thing from start to finish in a very natural feeling way, and I didn’t even know that such artsy-fartsy nonsense was allowed in deathcore. Don’t even start with me, ‘core fans, you lot are responsible for Emmure‘s continued existence and I’ll have none of your bullshit.
What makes Impending Death work so well overall is its willingness to do more than beat the living shit out of the listener’s eardrums via breakdown after overdone breakdown. The breakdowns are there, of course, but a distinctly melodic presence exists among the chaos as well, and therein lies the beauty of Impending Death. Guitarists Marcus Adam and Hubert Therrien chug and slam their way right through Kronos‘ alley, driveway and living room, and even the occasionally allotted moment to catch ones breath rarely sees the brutality dialed down at all. Instead of rolling back the distortion and volume and actually chilling out – though this does happen, specifically during the transition from “I, Cerberus” and “Numbers” and to great effect – a sense of serenity is instilled by weaving soaring, melodic fret-board flights within the storm, utilizing the contrast of Delusions of Grandeur-esque proggy bits against the slamming chaos to create a calming effect. Taking a path less traveled in a genre of clones is a risky move but almost always the right one, and Obliterate‘s exploration pays off big-time here.
While deviation from the norm is fine and dandy, a broken mold will only work if some of it holds true enough to form to retain recognizable functionality. To that end, let’s all give a big thank you to drummer Pat Woods and vocalist Rémi Provencher for maintaining the ‘core quo. When it comes to the thundering breakdowns and blastbeats from which deathcore typically draws its power, Woods has the goods, hammering away at the kit like he hates it and ensuring tracks like “In Devil’s Care” never go progging too far away from the core ‘core sound all the while. Further resolving any potential identity crises, Provencher alternates between gut-grumbling growls and throat-shredding shrieks that’ll sound like no place but home to fans of Delta and the like. Make no mistake, this is deathcore, but don’t make the mistake of passing Impending Death by for that alone, as this is some really fucking good deathcore.
A confession before we part: I expected – nay, wanted to hate Impending Death. I’d been looking for something to unload some vitriol on for a while, and I’d believed this to be an easy target for the genre alone. I’m pleasantly pissed to be so angrily surprised; I went digging for blood and stumbled upon gold with this particular album, Obliterate may have forced me to reevaluate my take on deathcore in general with Impending Death. Such unkvlt praise will surely be met with rabbles of dissent from those far more elite and trve than I, but on that note I’ll leave you with two points: save it for the review websites that you write for, yo, and the worst is yet to come.