Animosity – Empires

I never thought I would actually write this, but Animosity’s ‘Empires’ is actually a deathcore album WITHOUT A BREAKDOWN. I’m not even sure how it’s possible. This album manages to be completely different from anything on the market today purely on the virtue of not having any 80 BPM cut time china cymbal smacking, and if nothing else, you need to listen to this album because of that. I have to say, it’s refreshing to have a band who realizes that hardcore isn’t just a handful of stereotypes (the breakdown being the most obvious among them) and is able to willingly eschew the most obvious among them to make unique music.

That’s another element that sets Animosity apart: the ‘deathcore’ they play is rather different from what we normally think of it as. Here the music is a pretty pure combination of Throwdown style metalcore and death metal, not the ‘Suffocation plus shouting’ stuff that everyone else is doing. And yet, no breakdowns. Sure, there are some mid-paced hardcore sections, but the band never quite goes into DUNDUNDUNDUN *tshh* territory like so many others do. For the general sound, Despised Icon is a good reference point (though, once again, without breakdowns), but once again, the songwriting is fairly different from any of the deathcore bands out there today. At first listen, I was rather confused by ‘Empires’ trying to figure out precisely what was going on in the songwriting, but it all came together for me on the second and third runs through.

You know those mid/fast-paced sections in every death/hard/metalcore song that you wade through to get to the pit riffs? Animosity has taken these and made them essentially the whole of their music, but has actually made them good to listen too. Another unbelievable thing, I know. Most of the riffing is low and rhythmic, with the occasional bit of tremolo during the (surprisingly infrequent) blasting sections. And the riffs are good! They’re pretty firmly rooted in modern hardcore but never parodize themselves like so many of those bands do. The drumming is pure DM: lots of double bass and fills, not entirely unlike Despised Icon. The vocals can also draw a comparison there: the low growls are very Marois, and the higher pitched, almost black metal-esque (that means that they sound like black metal, not merely that they’re high pitched/raspy) are an additional unique yet pleasing touch to the overall equation.

Each one of the songs on the album is very solid. The band keeps it short at at 27 minutes total; perhaps too short for some, but I prefer this to any needless filler material. The music is consistently heavy, moderately technical, and laced with enough hooks to keep the listener interested throughout without having to rely on gimmick or novelty. The music here is just very well written: I’ve never heard a combination that’s quite like this, in delivery or immediate success. A reviewer delivering a rather scathing critique of Nortt mentioned that said band was a combination of black metal and funeral doom, and nothing more. I feel that this is an issue with many bands: they feel that merely combining two genres is enough to set them apart from the pack. While Animosity clearly combine two genres, even two genres combined commonly enough to have a name of its own, they are able to add enough of their own songwriting talent to the mix to set themselves apart from other bands quite nicely.

For all the deathcore fans currently out there, this is a definitely an album to check out. For those who dislike the genre based on its typical fulfillment of metalcore stereotypes, however, it should also be investigated as a very different spin on the fusion that may hook listeners where Despised Icon or Through The Eyes Of The Dead did not.

(Originally written for http://www.grindingtheapparatus.net)

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~ by noktorn on August 5, 2007.

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