Review Summary: Fast, brutal and memorable; Abnormality epitomises everything positive about the Death Metal genre.
The Death Metal genre as a whole has been undergoing much change as of late. With the generally unwelcome introduction of the amalgamation of Death Metal and Hardcore, and bands opting towards technicality in disregard of song structure, unadulterated Death Metal was left in the background. Abnormality, while still residing in the unestablished realms of the genre, have unleashed a clinical display of Death Metal with their debut album Contaminating the Hive Mind.
The album opens up with Monarch Omega, as we are introduced with a barrage of drumming and guitar-work, leading into a generic guitar riff backed by blast beats. While guitarists Ben Durgin and Jeremy Henry don’t steal the show, they execute faultlessly their role in the band. The riffs are interesting and memorable; every riff is heavy and calculated. However, of upmost importance, the guitar-work adds to the aim of the album and the genre as a whole; aggression. Abnormality doesn’t utilize the overexertion of guitar-work when it is superfluous, focusing more intently on song structures. Although not overwhelming, by no means is the guitar-work simple. Ben’s technical prowess can be heard through his many well-placed guitar solos and Jeremy riffs are complex and intricate. In the end though, Abnormality’s guitarists succeed through structure; no riff or solo seems out of place and as a result the album flows flawlessly. Meanwhile, the bassist Josh Staples also fulfils his role in the band. While mixed low, Josh adds to the feel of aggression through his complement of the guitar-work.
Not enough can be said about the level of technical drumming showed in Death Metal, and Jay Blaisdell is no exception. Blast beats and rapid double bass are utilized throughout the album, with Jay presenting some interesting fills. Likewise with the other members of the band, Jay coalesces with his fellow musicians in order to present a representation of brutality, and ultimately succeeds.
The focal point of the band is the vocalist Mallika Sundaramurthy. Mallika stands out from the rest first and more unimportantly because she is a woman, but secondly because of her distinctive and exceptional vocal abilities. For the majority of the album, Mallika utilizes a low growl, but often shows her range through Black Metal-esque high pitched screams. As can be expected from the band, the lyrics are associated with death and suffering. However while the content is vile, the delivery is almost poetic-like, highlighting capable and exceptional lyrical skills.
Abnormality’s debut album exemplifies everything optimistic about the Death Metal genre, and creates a blueprint based around structure for other bands to follow.
• Monarch Omega,
• A Chaos Reserved,