Flourishing on other’s scorn: an interview with Greg Burgess of Allegaeon

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   The past two years between previous album Formshifter and its successor Elements of the Infinite has not been an easy time to say the least for US melodic death metallers Allegaeon. The departure of band founder and guitarist Ryan Glisan alone offered a threat to the future of the band and seeds to doubters of their ability to continue to be a potently impacting force within metal. Overcoming those obstacles and determined to prove certain people wrong, Allegaeon has not only shown itself to be as powerful and impressive as before but unleashed one of the albums of the year and their finest incitement yet. Keen to find out more about the time leading up to the new album, the difficulties it faced, and the heart of Allegaeon itself, guitarist Greg Burgess kindly spared a chunk of his time to reveal all…

Hello Greg and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

It is a few days after the release of your outstanding new album Elements Of The Infinite, a definite album of the year contender in our book. How are the emotions and expectations as it starts seducing the world with its sounds?

Thanks so much man for having me, it’s mixed for me. I’ve been so busy making sure things go right and with all the jobs I have, I haven’t been able to fully enjoy it. That being said I kinda feel a little vindicated from some of the hate mail I received saying we were shit without Ryan.

Does Elements Of The Infinite feel more of a triumph because of that then, because it comes after the departure of as you mentioned band founder guitarist Ryan Glisan and drummer Jordon Belfast as well as other obstacles which came the way of the band in the past couple of years?

Well Jordon hasn’t been with us for like what 4 years now? He hasn’t been in the equation for us as a band for a long time, but the Ryan thing absolutely. Like I said in the previous question there were a lot of people that thought we were gonna crash and burn without him. I’ve always written half of the albums up to this record, why people thought I was incapable of writing more than that pissed me off. I found their lack of faith disturbing, so yeah I feel I triumphed a little bit. This has nothing to do with Ryan by the way, I wanna make that clear, we only wish the best for that dude, and I really hope he’s successful in his pursuits. But sometimes having a point to prove can really lead to good things. Look at Mustaine’s career, a whole career based off of getting even with Metallica; I think he was very successful.

Enlighten the readers of other problems around that time. It was a serious threat to the future of Allegaeon?allegaeon_photo06

Well I mean after our tour with Job For A Cowboy, we came home and basically lost a guitar player, the van’s transmission was shot, and we had no drummer. It was a lot to overcome. I guess it’s all in attitudes. We looked at it as an opportunity to excel instead of walls. I think that is what propelled us further. When we were offered the Wretched tour, Metal Blade basically said to us, “Hey look if you wanna do this, figure it out and do it. If you don’t well then we’re not sure you have a future with us.” It wasn’t harsh; it was just a reality check. We launched an indiegogo campaign, and the fans basically saved our asses. After that I got some fill in’s and we did the tour, and it basically was a new beginning for us.

Tell us about new members Michael Stancel and Brandon Park, how did the link-up with the guys come about?

Both of the guys started off as just tour fill in’s, they did such an amazing job and we had such a good time with them that it became clear very fast that they were our guys. They were fans to begin with and their attitudes were hungry. It felt great having new blood in the band, and honestly we needed a full line-up since we’d been in pieces for the past 3 plus years. I knew Mike from his other band Artemesis. The other guitar player in that band was my student so I knew the guy could play. Brandon just was persistent on Facebook, and really wanted the gig. We’d played with his former band Suffer The Wrath so I knew the dude was good, it was just a chemistry issue.

Taking the evidence of your first two albums alone, Fragments of Form and Function and Formshifter, for a non-musician and knowing the technical level and imagination you guys are at it would be a prospect to intimidate many guitarists and drummers joining the band. Did you find a full or sparsely filled queue applying or were Michael and Brandon your prime suspects anyway?

Well to be honest we were looking elsewhere to fill the spots. Our buddy Peter Joseph who was in the Absence was slated to take Ryan’s spot. I had been talking to him for a while and the talks were really really good. Mike did the tour and was just killing it every night; every band on the tour was like you should just take Mike. My biggest concern was respecting Peter, so we didn’t give Mike the job outright, but when we went through Tampa Peter basically said “dude you should just take Mike he’s rad”. It kinda just was right. As for Brandon, it’s a little more complicated. We actually got JP who played on Formshifter to join the band for like a couple of weeks, but he couldn’t do this tour we had lined up. I just couldn’t take the risk of it being a recurring problem. It sucked cause JP is incredible, and one of our best friends. After JP I asked our last touring guy Shawn McGuffin to step in, he wasn’t interested. So I got into that desperation mode. Our buddy Jeremy Portz who’d performed on all the Vale Of Pnath albums we kept going after, but it just wasn’t coming together. So we were just drummer less once again. I needed a drummer for the tour, and I remembered Brandon. I’d had reservations about Brandon due to association through other people. The first time I ever saw Brandon play this dude came up drunk off his ass, and started bashing our guy, saying we should get Brandon to do it. I was immediately pissed ‘cause our guy was great, and this dude was just disrespecting him to our faces. So that was kinda strike one against Brandon. Next we were playing another tour in St. Louis and another “friend” of Brandon’s came up trying to get us to do coke with him. It was automatically guilt by association. Both these dues claimed to be friends of B Park, one was an ass the other was a coke head. No Thanks!! I don’t want that shit screwing up what we got going on. Then Brandon said something on Facebook about how stupid drugs were or something so, I reached out. It’s so funny now, ‘cause these dudes almost blew this opportunity for Brandon, and getting to know B Park, he’s completely the opposite of everything I thought about him. Crazy! We can laugh about it now, but I was really concerned at first. After the first show with Park, I knew he was our guy. We did a few more shows on that tour then our van broke down. B Park works on a farm so he’s really good with machines. The dude fixed it and got us up and running again…so here we are sitting freezing our asses off in our busted van, and I’m like this dude is so hired.

Allegaeon-ElementsOfTheInfiniteDid you approach Elements Of The Infinite any differently to your previous albums, especially with Ryan no longer part of the process?

Very much so…My work load was double! Not only did I have to write all the material but we had to take over his responsibilities. He usually communicated with the artwork guy and he worked with Metal Blade on the fine details. I had the most free time so I just took it up. Also getting Joe Ferris on board to collaborate with all the orchestra stuff, yeah it was the hardest I’ve ever worked on an album.

How long did the album take to make?

To record, about a month and a half.

There has obviously been plenty of pressure to the making of Elements Of The Infinite so was it as enjoyable as other releases to bring to life?

It’s early days yet, but so far I’d say the opportunities we’ve already gotten from this record have made it the most enjoyable record we’ve done. I am definitely proud of it. I certainly feel all the hard work is paying off for once.

You recorded the album as the others with producer Dave Otero, he seems to add an essence and presence which your sound requires and flourishes even further with?

Well Formshifter wasn’t recorded with Dave it was done with Daniel Castleman. We really liked working with Castleman however after the split with Ryan, and the Pyrithion EP, and everything going on there, and the Lambesis fiasco on top of it, we really wanted to separate ourselves from it. Plus my friendship with Dave had grown a lot over the years, so it felt really good coming back. We really sought out his producer role, since I thought my objectivity was compromised from writing so much material. I needed a fresh perspective, and we really respect Dave to not pull punches. I’d ask him straight up, I have no idea if this part is good or it sucks, what do you think? I even wrote multiple solos for parts going, hey man which do you like better? He was very helpful to us.

How would you on the inside say your sound has changed just between Elements Of The Infinite and Formshifter?

Well Formshifter was interesting ‘cause we went in cold, and there was a lot of trust developed between everyone. We didn’t have a drummer so we kinda didn’t know how the album was going to sound. This one, I was meticulous. We had the track listing, all the preproduction done before we even stepped into the studio. We knew everything about this album before it was even recorded. That helped keep the vision. We even had all of Joe’s stuff ready to go before we got in. It made the process go really smooth.

Has it been an organic evolution or something you have been working towards or had in mind for a while?allegaeon_photo04

I think it’s been organic. The decisions on this album weren’t spur of the moment, they were all thought out, and methodical.

Talking to you and reading other interviews members have made, it feels like the band was as much as anything just trying to produce a strong and potent album to keep the band on track. Has the fact that for us and a great many it sees the band at a whole new plateau and creative ingenuity surprised you, either the reactions of the fact that it is that good?

I think so. I mean I was just hoping that this record wouldn’t lose ground…that we could make a point that we were still relevant. The fact that not only we seemed to achieve that, but also the vast majority of the reviews think we’ve surpassed our previous efforts is very rewarding. The band is more a family now than anything we’ve had before. We look out for one another. Everyone is happy within our organization, and that’s the way we aim to keep it. It makes for a great working environment.

There are strong evocative orchestral elements across the new album; who composed and brought those to provocative life?

Being a studied classical musician, this is something I’ve wanted to do for years. We’ve just never had the technology until now to pull it off. The composition of the orchestral and choir elements was a direct split between Joe Ferris and I. Working with him couldn’t have been more exciting, and he’s definitely part of our writing team now. I’d write these choir and string parts and he’d flesh them out or just revamp them in some cases. In others he would just run with an idea he had, and made it truly awesome.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind the album and songs.

OK from the beginning. Threshold Of Perception is a look at death. It’s a look at it from a sociological and chemical standpoint. Tyrants Of The Terrestrial Exodus is about the evacuation of earth and some of the corruption that will inherently be present in the choosing of who gets to go. Dyson Sphere is about building super structures around a star, The Phylogenesis Stretch is about Goldilocks Zones…the distance where life as we know it can exist around a star. 1.618 is about the golden ratio. Gravimetric Time Dilation is about gravity and mass, and how it effects time. Our Cosmic Casket is about black holes. Biomech II is about 3D printing organs. Ages of Ice is about an Ice Age that comes as a result of a meteor hitting earth. And lastly Genocide for Praise is about the 10 plagues of Egypt as it is described in the Bible.

allegaeon_photo03You guys have a passion for science or just lyrically it suits your musical ideation?

It’s really just what we’re interested in. We love it, we love learning about it. It truly is a pleasure to write lyrics about this stuff you learn a lot.

Is there a particular moment or aspect to Elements Of The Infinite which gives you the greatest pleasure or satisfaction considering it’s kind of harder than expected journey into being?

Just that we achieved what we set out to do and it’s broadened our goals to expand onto the global stage.

Now the album is uncaged and out there, what comes next for Allegaeon?

Lots of touring…we wanna crush these couple of US tours we have lined up and then head overseas.

Thanks again for chatting with us, any final thoughts you would like to share?

Thank you to everyone who’s supported us, and to all the new fans, we couldn’t do this without you!

 

Read the review of Elements Of The Infinite @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/allegaeon-elements-of-the-infinite/

http://www.facebook.com/allegaeon

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 13/08/2014

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Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite

pic byMatthewZinke

pic byMatthewZinke

You always hope and sort of expect bands to get better and more adventurous with each release, expectations becoming greedier and more demanding for the next offering after each success. Often wants are met and as often disappointed but few seem to make the size of a leap forward with each album as US melodic death metallers Allegaeon has. What is most impressive about the band is not so much the fact that they continue to evolve and push their sound to new plateaus with each release but the size of the steps between what have been quite stunning releases anyway. Releasing third album Elements of the Infinite, the Colorado quintet has again taken the seeds of a thoroughly impressive and highly acclaimed predecessor to another dramatically compelling and boundary stretching level. It is a glorious storm of technical voracity and virulent invention within an extreme metal tenacity which just ignites the imagination whilst feeding an appetite and hunger until now undiscovered. Last album Formshifter was a major incitement declaring Allegaeon as a prime protagonist but hindsight and Elements of the Infinite shows it was just the another step in a brewing game changer which has begun to redesign the landscape and future of melodic death metal.

The gap between the two albums has also seen the departure of band founder guitarist Ryan Glisan, who brought the project to life in Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite2008, and drummer Jordon Belfast. Whether coincidence or giving a previously unavailable opportunity to the band to explore new depths and adventures within its still distinct to Allegaeon sound, the departures seem to have opened up a startling new soundscape for the band to colour. The skilled presence of newcomers Brandon Park and Michael Stancel on drums and guitar respectively, alongside guitarist Greg Burgess, vocalist Ezra Haynes, and bassist Corey Archuleta has found a new depth to the ideation of the band. 2010 debut album Fragments of Form and Function put Allegaeon on the map and Formshifter brought a potent colour to the emerging scenery but the Dave Otero recorded Elements of the Infinite has not only reinforced the weight of the band’s presence but redefined the borders around its inventive terrain.

What immediately strikes as opener Threshold Of Perception engulfs ears and thoughts is not only the fluid and even stronger technical craft and impacting maturity to the songwriting and sound but the new ferociousness of aggression also challenging and seducing the senses. The track opens with a startling evocative web of expressive guitar within a dramatic and portentous yet welcoming atmosphere. It is a simultaneously intimidating and seducing coaxing which grows with epic breath as orchestrated hues and adventure soak the imagination, godly vocal harmonies and string manipulation a mesmeric charm and lure as the walls and heart of the track establish their demanding presence. The fearsome guttural growls of Haynes impress from the first spiteful syllable whilst Park cages the listener in a cauldron of rhythms and beats which without breaking sweat, break the back of emotional security. It is a tremendous entrance which expands into a masterful narrative of delicious sonic and melodic enterprise within an uncompromising intensity driven by Park and Archuleta. The song is a portent of things to come, swiftly confirmed by its successor.

   Tyrants Of Terrestrial Exodus entangles senses in a predacious stride of punishing rhythms and sonic enticement, crushing and seducing ears and emotions with equal vivacity. The track is hypnotic, bewitching the imagination from every angle. From the aggressive pungency of the drums and bass malice aligned to pleasingly diverse vocal causticity to the sonically bred melodic ingenuity which either sings loudly or with subtle kisses soaks every note, the encounter is a twisting tempting. It is a glorious wind in the new ‘dawning’ of Allegaeon within Elements of the Infinite, one complemented by the just as captivating Dyson Sphere. There is a core swing and groove to the song which infects emotions instantly and to which Burgess and Stancel layer imposing magnetic textures and mesmeric imagination. Spatial in its climate and tenacious in its invention, not forgetting hostile in its primal expulsions, the track ignites another wave of greed in the hunger and satisfaction already bred by the album.

Next The Phylogenesis Stretch takes thoughts into another fascinating realm of technical alchemy and sonic ingenuity within an exhausting and thrilling musical and lyrical narrative. As with all the tracks, the song has layers and corners which cannot be fully explored or often discovered on initial visits, ensuring that from an instantly stunning and mouthwatering premise, there is a constantly rewarding and impressive investigation perpetually unveiled with each taking of its body. This only makes a brilliant album on first embracing a growing leviathan of quality and scintillating inventive alchemy with ever emerging pinnacles like 1.618 which comes next. The track lovingly flirts and viciously riles the imagination from start to finish, a sonic and rhythmic provocateur which allows the listener to make assumptions before whipping away the floor for another inspiring fall into the rich enthralling depths of the encounter.

There is a darker rapacious feel to the album aligned with the aggression and inventive exploration, openly shown by that song and the next up Gravimetric Time Dilation, a carnivorous beauty and elegant vitriol soaking the careering rabidity and sonic endeavour enslaving ears. It beguiles and savages with irresistible resourcefulness and malicious enmity cored by a guitar enticement which binds it all together whilst reassuring the senses that the rancor is for their own good.

The pair of Our Cosmic Casket and Biomech II set new fires within the passions, the first a slowly unveiling intrusion of mystique washed melodics and insatiable predation courted by celestial temptation and virulent loathing whilst the second is sheer vindictive brilliance. An uncompromising, merciless stomp of addictive hostility and psyche twisting grooves with a melodic toxicity which again reassures in the face of the corrosive tempest, the track is a riveting sonically plumaged predator.

Through Ages Of Ice – Otzi’s Curse and Genocide For Praise – Vals For The Vintruvian Man, the album comes to a powerfully absorbing conclusion, each in their distinct ways singular journeys through bracing and frightening lands. The first is an energetic mouthwatering stomp of melodic enchantment and sonic tenaciousness within noxious malevolence and rhythmic testing whilst the final song near on thirteen minutes of just enthralling exploration. Peaceful searches and vigorously aggressive examinations are offered in varying creative degrees and colours across the gripping premise of the breath-taking flight. It is a mighty end to a sensational album, one showing you can take nothing for granted with Allegaeon and that expectations are redundant when it comes to their skills and imagination, though Elements of the Infinite does show that you can expect a proposition which will leave senses and emotions truly alive.

Elements of the Infinite is available via Metal Blade Records now!

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10/10

RingMaster 25/06/2014

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Pyrithion – The Burden of Sorrow EP

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Put As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis with two exceptional guitarists and a desire to explore the heaviest sounds possible and you get the impressively tormenting confrontation of Pyrithion and debut EP The Burden of Sorrow. The three track slab of maliciousness is a monster of a violating rampage upon the senses, a trio of songs which are corrosively compelling as they creatively carve up of the senses and then spew out of the debris.

In his own words vocalist Lambesis has said “I have wanted to do a heavier and more traditionally metal band for a while. Being that I own a recording studio, I thought a great place to start was by asking my engineer who the best guitar player is that he has recorded. I wanted to team him up with one of my favorite guitar players growing up.” The result was the bringing in of Ryan Glisan from Allegaeon and ex-The Famine guitarist Andy Godwin, which has subsequently bred  a brutally impacting and equally promising new force to extreme metal. Released via Metal Blade Records, The Burden of Sorrow is an uncompromising and passion igniting furnace of cataclysmic rhythms, ravenous riffs, and sonically driven melodic ingenuity honed into a merciless and quarrelsome tempest of intense pleasure.

The release opens up reasonably restrained for the start of The Invention of Hatred, the guitars coaxing fires from the heart of Pyrithion - The Burden of Sorrow - Singlethe following fury ridden by the expected venomous growls and heavy squalls of Lambesis laying their distinctly intensive weight and presence onto the ear. It is mere seconds later that the track explodes into a torrent of energy and grooved inducement from the guitars, whilst the drums splinters bone with their mighty sinews and the vocals bleed spite and rasping viciousness with every syllable. Arguably there is not a great deal new going on across the surface, though beneath the sonic solo and sparking shards of melodic invention give evidence that there is an underlying uniqueness finding its voice, but as a confrontation and ferocious experience it could not be fresher or more skilfully accomplished, and before the track has laid down its final blow the presence and promise of the project is greedily devoured by the passions.

The following Bleed Out continues the carnal seduction, its hypnotic yet destructive rhythms and impressively varied textures of abrasion driven vocals recruiting the emotions with ease whilst again the guitars rampage and wantonly persuade the passions with insidious devilment and unreserved ingenuity. Neither Godwin nor Glisan try to steal the show from the intent and heart of the songs, but brilliantly stretch and evolve their presence with a craft and invention which is irresistible and strongly imaginative.

Final track Rest in the Arms of Paralyzed Beast lays down its welcome with a subdued and emotive breath, the guitars teasing the air whilst painting a narrative in the mind before hell opens its door to expel another leviathan of intensity and aural abuse. The most diverse of the three songs with a serpentine groove veining the plundering of the senses with intermittent heights of strength but a continual taunting of the ear, the song is unpredictable and magnetic within its ruinous intent. The break into a less consuming stretch which lies in tune with the start allows a breath to be quickly swallowed before the song re-ignites its predatory instincts for a thunderous primal ravaging once more.

Hopefully this is the start of much more to come from Pyrithion, the band not being just an occasional ‘supergroup’, because on the evidence of The Burden of Sorrow we are in for some murderous and exciting times.

http://www.pyrithion.com/

8/10

RingMaster 17/04/2013

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Allegaeon: Formshifter

Formshifter the new album from Colorado melodic death metallers Allegaeon is just one of those beasts that you can only be impressed by no matter which metallic flavour lines your heart most. It is quite simply a masterpiece of defence splitting aggression, mesmeric technical prowess, and blistering scorched melodies, that is not to mention the deeply manipulative grooves and tumultuous numbing riffage which drives each and every track. The album is immense, a ruthless incursion of ear and heart which leaves one in no doubt they have just experienced the mightiest and most invigorating storm.

    Formshifter is the follow up to 2010 debut album Fragments of Form and Function, an album that put them on the metal map with force. Formed in 2008 by founding member and guitarist Ryan Glisan and soon completed with the addition of classically trained guitarist Greg Burgess, vocalist Ezra Haynes, and bassist Corey Archuleta, Allegaeon (pronounced: uh-lee-juhn) drew attention with their four tracked self-titled EP of the same year. 2009 saw them sign with Metal Blade Records and the eventual release of their critically acclaimed first album the year after. Following up such an impressive introduction to the wider world is always testing but they make it look easy as they return with an album that puts even that mighty debut in the shade.

Recorded at Lambesis Studios with Daniel Castleman (As I Lay Dying, Impending Doom, Carnifex, Winds of Plague), Formshifter splatters the senses against the cranium from the start with not only brutal intensity and insatiable grooves but also from the sheer class of their melodic invention. It never leaves one alone for a moment persistently barracking, provoking and captivating. It retains the core sound that made its predecessor so dominant but brings a fuller depth and uses a wider palate to create with. The band adds in multi sourced flavours to their melodic death metal spine without diminishing the tight powerful structure and strengths that make them Allegaeon; in fact they have simply just made them even more formidable.

The opening melodic beckoning of first song Behold (God I Am) sets one up majestically for the soon to follow wall of destructive intensity, and riffs that cripple the senses within seconds. It is a rampant muscular assault that leaves no avenue twisted and escape route blocked with its mountainous intensity. With solos which leave flesh as cinders the track is a stunning start to the album and yet not even close to be the best track on the album.

The following Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst explores inner corners you did not know existed as its grooves search out every shadow for the stunning guitar invention to glow within. Not one for over blown guitar play or constant solos it is still impossible not to be blown away from the imaginative and glorious creations from Glisan and Burgess, the latter one of the finest guitarists around and with the discipline and skill to stay well away from indulgence.  Throughout the vocals of Haynes growl and crawl all over the emotions with authority, emotion and venomous spite veining every track with a harsh intensity.

Every song on the album is a ravenous predator upon the ear mauling with titanic riffs and melodic ingenuity that lights every pore. The likes of the unrelenting bruising Iconic Images, the viciously clawed The Azrael Trigger a track which twists and torments the senses until you have no idea what day it is, and the infection spewing From The Stars Death Came, all leave one a breathless husk as they devour every synapse and feeling.  It is with Twelve – Vals For The Legions though that the band ignites the most ravenous fire within.  It immediately consumes with a groove which tantalises and excites whilst wrapping it in a fury of rhythms and riffs to bring any stiff kneed recipient to the floor. Contagious and intimidating the song prowls the ear as the guitars eagerly offer a mesmeric sonic intrusion with a final captivation coming from the brief Latin classical guitar insertions which invite nothing but the deepest affection. As the track drops its final colossal note it transforms into a wonderful guitar instrumental, the classical heart and skill of Burgess irresistible, and though the piece feels unrelated to the song it aligns itself to it is a deeply satisfying moment on the album to match the song itself.

Formshifter is immense and Allegaeon a metal giant, the album is the proof so now is the time to go and be impressed.

RingMaster 16/05/2012

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Cattle Decapitation: Monolith of Inhumanity

Without having a full and firm knowledge of the career and previous output of Californian death grinders Cattle Decapitation, there is still a feeling that it is not too far from the mark to claim their new album Monolith of Inhumanity is up there as possibly the best thing they have unleashed upon. The album is immense, a towering brutality that takes all that the band is known for to a deeper and harsher level whilst stretching themselves and the genre with an incisive invention and inspired originality. With previous album the excellent The Harvest Floor as the main reference to compare the new album with, there is a further defined intention and realisation on the new album to bring not only the aggression and combative directness but also themselves and their music as a whole into new and imaginative avenues.

Cattle Decapitation have not veered sharply away from the intense and dehabilitating extreme sounds they have been known for and cultured since their beginning in 1995, in fact they have turned that aspect up to flesh searing and bone snapping heights. Into this though they have brought irresistible melodic insertions, groove fuelled hooks and lures, diverse vocals, and multiple infectious invitations unlike anything the band has created before. These are used subtly and sparingly but when used they bring something special to the visceral decimation going on all around. Monolith of Inhumanity is outstanding and makes being punished by its limitless violence a pleasure.

Released via Metal Blade Records on May 8th Monolith of Inhumanity sees the first appearance of bassist Derek Engemann in songwriting and recording. Joining vocalist Travis Ryan, guitarist Josh Elmore, and David McGraw on drums and alongside producer Dave Otero (Allegaeon, Cephalic Carnage), together they have spawn an album which lives and breathes to annihilate the senses as it brings through its concept of where humanity will end up if it continues its current course. From the moment the opening track The Carbon Stampede swarms around and bears its heavy vindictive weight upon the ear you know Cattle Decapitation have not lost their might and viciousness but have increased it with relish. The track rages like a furnace as the riffs splinter the sinews holding the ear in place whilst twisting the senses into a defenceless molten obedience. It is a devastating start still only suggests the greater things to come.

The darkly grinning bass of Engemann in the following Dead Set In Suicide alongside devastating rhythms from McGraw send bestial claws straight into the soul but it is the impressively varied and contrasting guttural gratings of Ryan with presumably his own high higher pitched demonic chorus which whips the song to be an immediate highlight. With riffs puncturing the body like offspring from a semi-automatic and melodic guitar play as sharp as cheese wire the track is enormous.

The album though just gets better and better, from the consuming vehemence of A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat with more brilliant diverse vocals and …well, just about everything, through the spiteful deeply intrusive Gristle Licker with a groove that opens up in the latter stages as demanding and additive as heard anywhere, to Lifestalker a track which almost breaks out initially into a wanton grooved swing attack until its bestial heart reasserts itself, the quality simply rises and rises.

The best is saved to last though with the trio of tracks Do Not Resuscitate, Your Disposal, and the closing Kingdom Of Tyrants. The first of the three turns the senses into a splatter board for the debris from its uncompromising intrusions of blistering riffs, acidic invention, and ravenous vocals. As shown everywhere the production allows each member to express their individual agenda and malice to bring a fuller and open but no less titanic assault from Cattle Decapitation. Your Disposal is the best song on the album, bringing all the best elements on the album into one rampaging maelstrom of intensity, violation, and ingenuity. It is like being in the middle of a charnel pit as your skin and bone are flayed by the sounds.

Kingdom of Tyrants is equally impressive and unpredictably imaginative, the perfect creative and destructive end to an outstanding album. With essences of the likes of Carcass, Dimmu Borgir, and Cannibal Corpse spicing up their own distinct death, grind, and what is at times melodic black metal, Cattle Decapitation have let loose one of the best extreme metal albums in a long time. Monolith of Inhumanity will leave you on your knees and devoid of feeling but most of all it will leave you fully satisfied.

RingMaster 03/05/2012

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