Unique Leader Records

The Breathing Process – Labyrinthian Review

The Breathing Process – Labyrinthian Review

“A phenomenon risen in the last decade is the concept of “blackened deathcore.” While Winds of Plague‘s cheesy keyboard licks copied and pasted atop chug-happy deathcore is business as usual, it wasn’t until bands like Make Them Suffer and Abigail Williams cranked up the moody -core brutality with black metal tropes in songwriting, drumming, and keys. More recently represented by bands like Lorna Shore or Mental Cruelty, blackened deathcore (if you accept it as a style) has become one of those quasi-sub-genres that fuses the oft-maligned “scene-core” and those of the “trve” style – a trve clvsterfvkk if you will. Quietly riding the wave is collective The Breathing Process, whose string of releases have contributed in small ways to this weird-ass style.” I see a mall kid and I want to paint him black.

Signs of the Swarm – Absolvere Review

Signs of the Swarm – Absolvere Review

“If any band has cursed history, it’s Signs of the Swarm. Seemingly the hub of the most garbage human beings in the history of deathcore, more allegations plague these Pittsburgh natives than breakdowns. Sexual assault allegations beleaguer former vocalist CJ McCreery and former bassist Jacob Toy, while physical abuse accusations mar former guitarist Cory Smarsh. Smartly, the group has distanced itself from these individuals, showing integrity in spite of its streak of scumbags. Continuing as a trio, Absolvere is no step down in brutality, energy, or most importantly, quality.” Away from the maddening swarms.

Vulvodynia – Praenuntius Infiniti Review

Vulvodynia – Praenuntius Infiniti Review

“When Vulvodynia put out Psychosadistic Design all the way back in 2016, it served as an intro to slam for a great number of people. It was up there with Ingested’s Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering for entry-level stuff that would eventually lead the listener to bands like Ecchymosis, Gorevent, and Kraanium. It had a modern sheen, plenty of obvious hooks, and an obnoxious sense of humor, but it also had enough in common with slam to draw the listener down the rabbit hole.” Death, where is thy slam?

Cognitive – Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction Review

Cognitive – Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction Review

“People around here know me as not being too into the more extreme quarters of the metal gallery. Hell, when I started writing, I’d barely prodded beyond the confines of Swedish death metal like Bloodbath and Vicious Art. Anaal Nathrakh was the exception to the rule, but even there I was more drawn to the melodic elements of their work, such as those showcased on Hell Is Empty… and deathcore never even appeared on my radar until I was trampled by Xenobiotic. Since crawling into an empty cubicle at AMG offices (while ignoring all the blood) some of the more unseemly viscera have begun to seep into the hollows of my skull. It’s a slow and sporadic process, and though my experience with tech death and deathcore remains scant, it’s enough to lash together a somewhat cohesive frame against which to place techdeathcore ensemble Cognitive.” Evil thoughts, fair reviews.

Alustrium – A Monument to Silence Review

Alustrium – A Monument to Silence Review

“Philadelphia’s progressive tech death architects Alustrium smashed out an album for the ages with their 2015 opus A Tunnel to Eden. The sophomore LP presented a kaleidoscopic, grand in scale masterwork of progressive and technical death metal, featuring serious instrumental and compositional chops, while possessing tons of heart and style. Despite being a little too bloated and ambitious for its own good, the pros far outweighed the miniscule cons to deliver a knockout punch. Punctuated by 2020’s strong Insurmountable EP, it has been a long time between drinks on the full-length recording front. Curiously slipping under the radar, Alustrium‘s third album, A Monument to Silence is now upon us.” Unquiet monuments.

Distant – Aeons of Oblivion Review

Distant – Aeons of Oblivion Review

“Netherlands outfit Distant emerged on the scene with 2019’s Tyrannotophia debut, showcasing their self-proclaimed downtempo deathcore brand, with atmospheric stylings. While potential was evident, overall the album fell short of the mark, marred by monotonous writing and lack of interesting and dynamic arrangements. I missed their stopgap EP from 2020, but with two years having slipped by I plunge in with trepidation and hope to see if Distant have revamped their brand enough to sustain a deeper level of engagement.” Maintaining minimum safe distance.

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

“Everyone loves a good comeback story. For German brutal deathcore quintet Mental Cruelty, their comeback story begins in 2018, wherein they rolled up on your beach brandishing a weapon of divine destruction named Pergatorium. Then, Inferis dropped less than a year later. To my dismay, that record abandoned much of what made Pergatorium fun and compelling, instead resorting to cheap genre tricks, lifeless breakdowns and unsatisfying symphonics. Looking back, I probably overrated Inferis by a half-point, such was my disappointment with the album after such a strong debut. Enter third installment A Hill to Die Upon.” Obsessed by (Mental) Cruelty.

Osiah – Loss Review

Osiah – Loss Review

“Another day, another album called Loss. While some crews take up this tragic mantle with sobriety and melody, Osiah‘s content pummeling you with big “djunz” time and I guess the “loss” is, like, a loss of goddamn peace and quiet. This is a band I inherited from the Spongey One who simply didn’t have the time to devote to deathcore. Shocker, I know.” Identity loss.

Korpse – Insufferable Violence Review

Korpse – Insufferable Violence Review

“For those who don’t know anything about brutal Dutch bruisers Korpse, the cover of their third full-length Insufferable Violence provides an interesting commentary. See, nobody except weirdos and fun-hating scolds take brutal death metal seriously, at least thematically. If you didn’t get into horror in high school, you probably won’t get it – and that’s fine. For those of us who did, we’ll pass by album covers with all manner of atrocity on them, thinking nothing of it. It’s not so much about being desensitized to real violence and death, but just the fake stuff.” Korpse grinding.

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde Review

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde Review

“Just about a year and a half ago, I shocked the world by covering Humanity’s Last Breath‘s sophomore record, Abyssal. Djenty deathcore is not normally in my wheelhouse, but every once in a while, I get a craving for something über heavy. I really liked a lot of what I heard on Abyssal. Humanity’s Last Breath paint horrific scenes using an crushingly bleak sonic palette, and when things clicked on Abyssal, it shook the very ground. But as much as I loved most of what the band did on that record, it felt like it could have used some trimming to sharpen the impact. When I heard that followup Välde was scheduled for a February release, it immediately landed a spot on my most-anticipated albums of 2021 list.” Next to last breath.