Review Summary: One of the better bands in a much-derided genre6 of 6 thought this review was well written
When it comes to heavy music, no genre is more loathed than deathcore. So when one hears that Sputniker Moreira has, along with his friend Daniel Pio, created a 'deathcore' album, I can imagine numerous eyebrows were raised. Luckily I enjoy some deathcore, and after listening to this album thoroughly I can safely say that to classify this album solely as deathcore would be an injustice.
For example, opener Self Ventriloquist is clearly not your average deathcore track. While there's definitely chugging present, the song is too busy being as aggressive as possible to slow things down for too long. Soon, it's bombarding you with insanely fast programmed drums, driving, technical riffs and an incredibly impressive vocal performance that manages to encompass almost every vocal style the genre has ever implemented into the space of 100 seconds. They even incorporate an extremely solid guitar solo. But then, out of absolutely nowhere (and perhaps a bit too jarringly for my liking) the brutality ceases and the rest of the song becomes a pretty instrumental number that displays the band's progressive flavours in the best way possible.
The opening of the second track, Penumbra, acts as a continuation of this style with its mournful guitar strumming, soft double bass kicks and haunting atmosphere. When the track changes its right back to the extremely heavy, technical side of the band that gives real emphasis to the coarse, guttural growls and demented shrieks served up by Moreira himself. Indeed, Moreira actually becomes more vocally interesting as the album progresses. His guttural vocals are genuinely terrifying in places, such as the near spoken word section of the aforementioned song, but where he really excels is on Umbra where his passionate delivery is matched perfectly by Pio's lively guitar work.
In fact, the chemistry between the two band members is so strong that even on Fog Of War, which I feel isn't as fully realised as the other songs here, manages to sound utterly thrilling thanks to a combination of crushing riffs and vicious vocals that are amongst the strongest found on the album. It's the album's shortest song, and also the fastest and angriest that the band are on this record. This is displayed no better than in the song's scathing lyrics, which it should be noted are as consistently well written throughout (and as good as deathcore lyricism gets really).
However, the closer, Memorial, sounds nothing like any of these songs in any way. Whereas a the other songs experiment with progressive metal, it is only here where this style sounds fully fleshed out. The gentle guitar strumming, keys and an unexpected but spectacular but clean vocal turn from Moreira build the song up into a beautiful atmospheric track, and an indication that we should expect even greater things from the band in the future.
The only real gripe i have about this album is that the programmed drums, which, despite being appropriately brutal in context with the band's overtly heavy sound, sadly begin to border on irritating round about the third track. A good comparison would be Infant Annihilator's latest release, which was similarly exhaustive thanks to an overproduced, clicky drum sound. Luckily the drum sound here isn't a detracting from the overall sound, and are more than bearable in comparison. My only other criticism is the lack of bass guitar present here, but this is of course more than common in deathcore albums and I often find it difficult to detect it anyway, so it is unfair to use it as a negative point.
Overall, this album has very little wrong with it. As deathcore goes this is most definitely in the top tier of the genres acts, and should most definitely be checked out by any lover of the genre. Maybe even a few of you genre elitists out there could give this band a shot, it may just surprise you.