Sensory Amusia – Breed Death Review

Sensory Amusia are an interesting and, I’d contend, somewhat enigmatic band. They released their debut album in 2013 and then basically went dark. They popped up again six years later with an EP, quickly followed by another the following year. Now, two years after that last sojourn, Sensory Amusia have resurfaced again, this time with their first full-length in almost a decade. In many ways, Breed Death marks a departure from their 2013 debut, but even the most Vogonesque bands among us tend to evolve and grow. Whether that growth pulled the band in a more positive direction musically is another question. But where did they go after 2013? Why did they choose to emerge with their sophomore full-length several presidential administrations and one pandemic later? These are the pressing questions I will in no way answer. 

Sensory Amusia is a loud n’ proud trio hailing from Perth, Australia, although there’s not much else to go on besides what’s provided in the brief promotional material accompanying the album that makes mention of their EPs from 2019 and 2020 but conspicuously leaves out 2013’s Disrepair. Why go down this rabbit hole, you ask? Because I’ve been looking for a clearer explanation as to how 2013’s Sensory Amusia, which sounded more like a tech/djent-adjacent death metal band with metalcore and sci-fi elements, transitioned to the band we hear on Breed Death: more brutal, more monotonous, and with a cranked up deathcore tinge that nearly requires a breakdown counter. Ultimately, this change can be easily explained away as mere creative evolution. After all, knowing the “why” isn’t as important as knowing if it works. Onward, cretins.

The short response is “every now and then.” While the promo blurb states that Breed Death is about “the final hell, portrayed through a fictitious character’s slowly decaying mind,” I also get a sense, with song titles like “Yersinia Pestis,” “Vermin” and “Parasitic Alteration” that’s there’s plenty on display that intentionally evokes images of pestilence and plague. If only this collection of songs stuck to you with the same vigor of that plucky little 14th century parasite. The joint opening salvo of 57-second “Birth Through Violence” and first full-length song “Yersinia Pestis” are promising, offering solid, techy main riffs and slammy, cellar-depth gutterals. Follow up “Vermin” also sports some engaging riffs and tone-setting, rat-scampering samples, but most importantly, this song lays out the two-pronged template for what’s to come: big, loud, never-ending breakdowns coupled with attempts to build momentum by contrasting slower chugs with frenetic blast beats or more frenetic double bass. While this certainly works over the course of several tunes, the repetition of these two approaches wears thin after only a few tracks. “Parasitic Alteration” features some solid groove alongside an effective Pantera-derived riff, and “Bind, Torture, Kill” takes a break from the deathcore deluge to deliver moody, otherworldly synths over some Marilyn Manson-inspired vocals. And you can’t quite rid your mind of the effective use of tremolos on penultimate track “A Blank Canvas of Flesh.” But these bright spots are rare, compressed as they are between countless moments of uninspired tedium.

I can’t overstate how Sensory Amusia’s dual approach of using unrelenting, early 2000s metalcore breakdowns and wedding mid-paced riffs to fast-paced percussion wears on the listener. It’s a recurring motif that first engages, but ultimately enrages, serving as a musical crutch on song after song. Perhaps that’s why I’ve harped so much on the departure from 2013’s Disrepair (which I was altogether unfamiliar with before this review) because as imperfect as it was, it did what many debuts often do: hint at a far more interesting and exciting musical future. Unfortunately, that’s not the future we live in. Cars can’t fly, I still can’t hydrate a pizza, and Breed Death is serviceable but ultimately disappointing.

This was an album I was hoping to like, but after multiple spins and a trip through the band’s back catalog, there’s just not much to remember fondly (or much that’s fondly memorable). All that being said, if you’re anxiously scrambling for your next deathcore fix, you could do far worse. As for me, here’s to hoping that Sensory Amusia, with their chops, experience, and evolving bag of tricks, can right the ship and return sooner rather than later with a platter more befitting their talents. And fewer breakdowns.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Lacerated Enemy Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: May 27th, 2022

« »