Review Summary: Death metal with breakdowns. That isn't actually as bad as it sounds...
Modern death metal has been slightly lackluster in the opinion of most metalheads. Gone are the glory days when bands such as Death and Morbid Angel reigned - here now are the days where when people are talking about Death Metal, bands such as Job For A Cowboy are dropped into conversation. This isn't to say that every newer death metal band that mixes breakdowns into their sound is bad. Animosity is a five piece death metal band from America who are a prime example of this. Empires comes in at just under half an hour and proves to be a delicious slice of death metal spliced with various metalcore elements.
Brutality and speed are two things that surface the most throughout Empires. Right off the bat with Thieves, the band show you just what they are capable of producing. Riff after riff pummels you and a vocalist who can vary his range wonderfully well are two ingredients that help to make the record most enjoyable. The drumming is fast where it needs to be and is never out of place; some of the speeds attained, particularly in terms of fills, is nothing short of frightening. The title track is a mid-paced headbanger during the introduction, before speeding up into a more death metal like section. The guitarists are more than competent and their riffs are well crafted - Animosity are kind of like a mix between bands such as Despised Icon and earlier Job For A Cowboy and metalcore. The rhythms are highly metalcore influence anyway - complex start-stop sections and all out blast parts with double bass overload.
As far as negatives go, the most evident would be that everything sounds pretty similar. On occasions, some riffs sound pretty uninspired - the constant chugga-chugga riffs that are interspersed with the more death metal riffs may begin to get on some people's nerves after a while. Animosity are definitely at their most effective during their speedier moments; the drummer is certainly a talented member as far as drumming goes. Whilst the bass hugs the guitars almost exclusively, it does add a meaty low end. As a plus point, he is keeping up with all of the members using only his fingers which is quite an impressive feat at this pace.
Album highlights include the rip roaring The Black Page, which sears through the speakers at astounding speed before going into one of the more memorable breakdown sections. In general, the riffs are great, with the guitarists utilizing all the typical metal features to meld together groove, technicality and brutality into splendid riff after splendid riff. Blastbeats are aplenty in Life Advocate, with a bombardment of crazy drumming and groove riffs to keep you occupied. Metalheads will undoubtedly find plenty to enjoy here, while those more affluent with hardcore/metalcore will also be pleased, particularly by tracks such as Thieves and Commoditism, where the hardcore influences are worn firmly on the band's sleeves.
Empires may be short and it may not be ever so varied, but this is a solid release from a very young and very talented band. Animosity prove to be one of the better bands from a wave of new death metal acts and even though they do mix in the breakdowns and metalcore aspects to a prominent extent, this doesn't deter from an overtly brutal and fulfilling listening experience.
The Black Page
Shut It Down