From its opening instrumental, Misanthropic Propaganda, the debut album from Swedish metallers Quest Of Aidance towers over and brutally palms the senses into an enterprising torrent of extreme provocation, a journey which leaves you captivated inside yet numb on the surface. Combining grindcore with melodic death metal whilst adding plenty of other flavoursome essences into its stirring ferocity, the release is a confrontation that does not smash through existing boundaries for extreme metal but certainly at times gives it a damn good prod.
Quest Of Aidance was formed in 2004 by guitarists Christian Älvestam (Unmoored, ex-Scar Symmetry, Miseration) and Christian Lundgren (Miseration, Carnalized). Soon a quartet the band recorded their debut demo Human Trophy the same year which took them to the attention of Roy Yeo, the label manager of Pulverised Records. This led to the re-release of the demo as the Fallen Man Collection two years later with the Dark Are the Skies at Hand EP coming the following year. Line-up changes over the years have undoubtedly helped the band hone and evolve the sound found on the early releases into the predacious triumph that is Misanthropic Propaganda. Created by vocalist Daniel Valström (Syconaut) alongside Älvestam and Lundgren, with guests musicians like Patrik Gardberg (Torchbearer, Solution .45, The Few Against Many), Oscar Nilsson (Miseration, Saint Daemon, Despite) and jazz guitarist Johan Randén adding their skills and invention into the mix, the again Pulverised Records released album marks the band as a major emerging force which if not now, ahead will be setting new levels for others to contemplate and emulate.
Opener A New Storm Rising is a dramatic and cinematic heralding of the album, its rising walls of intensity and sound sculpting the sense of an imposing ominous force about to launch itself upon the body. The piece is gloriously crafted and presented, an evocative intimidation wrapped in sonic beauty to start off the science fiction themed and inspired album. Once it has coloured the imagination the track evolves into the carnal ferociousness of Seething Voids, the track a burning volcano of raptorial riffing and rabid rhythmic confrontation driven by a sonic storm veined with irresistibly compelling grooves. Though a mere two minutes in length the track is devastating and addictive with the excellent bruising vocal squalls a menacing persuasion to compliment the already contagious bait.
Both Deadly Viral Strain and To No Avail thrust the release instantly to another level, the first an intoxicating tempest of lethal rhythmic bartering with the ear alongside a suffocating riff driven intensity. The song as so many on the album is not satisfied with a one dimensional attack, shifting and twisting with slight progressive teases and impacting industrial flames within the ashes hot annihilation. Its successor unleashes a wholly addictive groove from its opening seconds, its call and grip squeezing tighter and tighter until the blood drains from the ears. Grievous and animalistic in its hunger, the track is a delicious grinding aural explosion with a murderous sonic breath and openly severe thirst to ravage its victim.
The progressive fire which marks the entrance and guitar enterprise of Section 34 shows further that band and album has an arsenal of invention to keep the listener and songs fresh and for the main unpredictable, and though the track does not light the passions as strongly as the previous songs its drama and sonic pictorial leaves mind and imagination bursting with visions and interpretations. Anyx too in its air shattering viciousness inspires stark images of destruction though as it is only a sub one minute presence these are fleeting thoughts once the equally sadistic Dimout expels its death metal cored creative cruelty.
Each track on the album impresses in their individual ways to similarly varying degrees with both the truculent yet openly seductive Red Dust where riffs, vocals, and rhythms scintillatingly chew up the senses whilst keys sooth the wounds with delicious beauty, and the carnivorous venom caked Spawnlayer standing alongside those earlier glories as major highlights. The pair shares an invention which is draped in jazz and progressive ingenuity though it has to wait for its place in the maelstroms of sonic spitefulness and uses all of its imaginative resources to leave the strongest impression.
Misanthropic Propaganda is an outstanding album which continues to reward as songs like Sirian Breed with its epic bookending intro and outro and The 5th Column trespass welcomingly into the psyche. It may lack a little on originality at its heart which stops it being the biggest release of the year but feeds every need and more with its undeniably powerful and fertile invention not forgetting violence.
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