|Aversions Crown – Xenocide (Nuclear Blast Records)|
|Written by Rich Hobson|
|Thursday, 16 February 2017 04:00|
Deathcore is to death metal what pop punk is to punk rock. And, much like in the pop punk scene, deathcore now finds itself bogged down amidst a turgid flurry of bands who sound and look so similar you have to wonder if somebody’s dad has a lot of explaining to do.
Born and based in Australia (a country so dangerous that even the metal is trying to kill you), Aversions Crown hail from a scene that has already given the world the likes of Parkway Drive, I Killed The Prom Queen and Thy Art Is Murder – aka some of the biggest and brightest stars in the genre. This leaves big footsteps to follow, not helped by the fact that the scene is undergoing an identity crisis as some of its biggest stars forgo the genre’s heaviest aspects in favour of a commercial pay-out.
Aversions Crown don’t hold any truck with that. Mercilessly unabashed in its deathcore nature, Xenocide revels in the genre’s nastiest and most aggressive aspects for a twelve-track serving of deathcore purism. In many ways, this proves to be the album’s biggest selling point, but also one of its hardest drawbacks. By remaining steadfast to the staple deathcore diet, Aversions Crown are able to offer a rebuttal to the idea of the genre suffering any kind of identity crisis. Conversely, the unyielding heaviness of the album also handicaps the band’s ability to create a standout song to prove that you need not sacrifice aggression to make a great song.
Luckily, the band do manage to escape the confines of the deathcore genre’s most constrictive elements enough to firmly establish their own identity within the scene. Deathcore’s melodic metalcore influence offers Aversions Crown a line out from the standard breakdowns and blast-beats of the genre. By completely flaying the flesh of metalcore’s most melodic elements until only minimalist scraps remain, the band are able to create a unique take on the deathcore staples.
In particular, the album’s guitar-work often serves to break-away from the identikit breakdowns you can find elsewhere in the genre. By overlaying minimalistic, melodic guitar work over the breakdowns and blasts, the band enter black metal territory. ‘The Soulless Acolyte’ in particular takes black metal’s ‘wall of sound’ approach and transposes it onto a deathcore foundation for something that sounds unique to both genres. Elsewhere, the imperial guitar riffs of ‘Erebus’ lends the band a sonic line to Nile, whilst ‘Stillborn Existence’ sees the band cross into almost prog-metal territory.
These progressive elements are few and far between, however. Transgression from deathcore principles always takes second fiddle to the idea of sticking to the tried-and-true. The end result is unique, but unfocused. For every moment where the band push away the genre’s most obvious weights they soon find themselves crashing back down with an errant snarled blast-beat or breakdown. This is a blessing and a curse for the release; the band are able to push beyond the sound of their contemporaries and bring a unique signature to the style, but also remain loyally chained to the genre’s clichés, restrained a hair’s width away from producing something that could galvanise the scene.
‘Xenocide’ isn’t an album that yearns to be loved by the masses, nor does it try to appeal to fans outside of the deathcore genre. Instead, the album is crafted to be the antidote for fans feeling spurned by the commercial choices of bands like Bring Me The Horizon or Suicide Silence. An unabashed statement that without “death”, there is no “core”, ‘Xenocide’ is the sound of a band absolutely assured of who (and what) they are.
‘Xenocide’ is out now.
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