Review Summary: The fucking epitome of brutality
Alright, let's start this review off by getting one thing straight: Serial Urbicide is not art. It's just not. As art goes, this is roughly the musical equivalent of Z-movie level horror film with zero substance, no tangible moral or message, and cardboard characters who have no real characterisation beyond the increasingly amusing and gore-drenched manners in which they meet their respective demises. It has no layers, what you get on the first listen is what you're gonna get on every listen following it no matter how deep you dig in search of some evasive second dimension to the music, and frankly, I've heard more intelligent sound coming out of a first-grade dropout than what emerges from my speakers when I put Serial Urbicide on.
And it's ***ing brilliant.
Really, there's nothing I can actually say about Serial Urbicide that won't sound like anything short of hyperbolic fellatio-- music this relentlessly heavy and grooving should be illegal, plain and simple. This is slam death metal, taken as far as slam death metal can go without emerging out the other end into the realm of Cephalotripsy-style flat, uninspired chugfesting. This music is kinetically charged and hard-hitting, aided by what is easily a contender for the best brutal death metal guitar tone I've ever heard-- denser than a neutron star, with a gorgeously thick and crunchy low end, the production nevertheless retains clarity and definition when the guitarists move up the fretboard. Oh yes-- Extermination Dismemberment's guitars actually consist of more than just the first four frets of the top two strings. In an era wherein slam death metal bands, led by revolutionary trailblazers in knuckle-draggingly retarded chugging Cephalotripsy, are increasingly opting for songs that consist of nothing but slam after slam after slam, Extermination Dismemberment have auspiciously seen fit to intersperse amidst the slams actual tremolo-picked death metal riffs. Hell, they're even good. This, in conjunction with the production and the refreshingly varied drum work, is what lends Serial Urbicide the kinetic energy that releases like Uterovaginal Insertion of Extirpated Anomalies and Post-Abortion Slut ***, which proved themselves to be absolute snoozefests, lacked.
But Extermination Dismemberment doesn't mince words about what the meat of Serial Urbicide is about, 'cause it sure as hell ain't the tremolo riffs. Nope, front and centre here are unquestionably the slams.
Because holy hell, does Serial Urbicide ***ing slam. The bulk of this album lies in its skull-crushingly heavy low end grinds, chugging along like a thousand tonne steam roller made of slam
: they're infectiously groovy, and simply defy even the greatest of mortal metalheads to resist the sheer biological instinct to begin headbanging. It helps that the bass actually has a remarkably tangible presence on this album, though interestingly enough that presence is underscored best by the occasions in which the bass is not
playing-- you can tell immediately when it's fallen silent, leaving the guitars briefly to fend for themselves before it enters the fray again.
There's only so much mileage you can get out of slams by their very definition, of course, and Serial Urbicide suffers from the same problem shared by quite possibly every other album that shares its niche: it's anything but memorable. The slams are crushing, relentless, and catchy as hell, but other than maybe a few particularly addictive specimens, you won't find yourself humming any of them to yourself once Serial Urbicide gone through one ear and out the other. This isn't much of a flaw viewed in the context of what Serial Urbicide and slam death metal in general is supposed to be: music for in the moment. You listen to the Neanderthalic grooves, surrender about a million brain cells to the glorious retardation of the mindless chugging for half an hour or so, and then you go off on your merry way again, presumably to listen to Opeth or Cynic or some *** in hopes of reclaiming a couple of those brain cells. Extermination Dismemberment is no different: despite a brief flirtation with electronic influences on Human Holocaust, most of this is by the numbers slam death metal-- it's just by the numbers slam death metal done beautifully right, happily self aware of its own complete lack of artistic merit and content simply to bash in faces.
And for that purpose, Serial Urbicide stands head and shoulders above its peers. This is monstrously heavy music, made all the more ridiculously heavy by Extermination Dismemberment's tactical use of bass drops-- sweet jesus, the ***ing bass drops. Extermination Dismemberment knows exactly when to beat the listener's skull in with a well-placed bass drop, though they also scatter Serial Urbicide with a few smaller bass drops, a couple in each song, to underscore the particularly hard-hitting slams. These, however, are merely potatoes to the meat of the real
bass drops-- because when Extermination Dismemberment break those out, they're absolutely immense, almost drowning out the guitars in bass-ridden fuzz (it's pretty sick to hear the guitars fade back into all their gut-wrenchingly heavy glory fresh off a face-crushing bass drop). They drop with the force of an atomic bomb at key points in the music, overwhelming the rest of the music briefly in a haze of distortion before dissolving into the next slam.
I've mentioned the drums as another point that serves to prove Serial Urbicide distinct from the muck of the average slam death metal band-- what drummer Vladislav Martisorov does right is he actually adds some goddamn variety
. Not content to simply regurgitate the same blast beat-double bass-blast beat- double bass patterns over and over again, Martisorov maintains a diverse menagerie of accents, fills, and beats, though he also knows just as well when straightforward blasting or double bass will serve the music best. He won't win any awards for being particularly technically impressive-- ***, this is still a slam death metal album, after all-- but his performance is just another facet of why Serial Urbicide is such a breath of fresh air.
The same can be said for vocalist Valeriy Kozhemyako, who decided to give the finger to the genre's predilection for mindlessly guttural monotony. That's not to say Kozhemyako doesn't indulge the slam death metal fan's biological need for ridiculously deep gurgling-- he just doesn't feel compelled to limit his vocal vocabulary the same way ninety per cent of slam death metal vocalists seem to. Bloodbath Religion showcases a nigh-decipherable death growl that wouldn't be out of place on a straightforward death metal release, whereas on other songs he vacillates between something like a pig squeal (don't flee in terror, they're not of the 'BREE BREE' variety) and a juicier, thicker guttural. This has probably never, ever been said, in the history of the genre, but... well, variety is the spice of slam.
It's not absolute perfection-- maybe it's just a personal pet peeve of mine, but this album could really do without the pointless samples, such as the one that composes the first 'track' in its entirety, or the one that continually rears its head throughout Carnivore Outraged. For a band that did such a good job of setting themselves apart from the flock on this release, Extermination Dismemberment really need somebody to hand them the memo that samples of people screaming in horror over the sound of something sloppily chewing is more annoying than atmospheric or whatever the *** they were going for. And as I've said, this is the veritable antithesis of memorability and certainly the indubitable foe of anything possessing the vaguest hint of artistic merit or meaning, so it's not something you'll have stuck in your head for years to come, and it's not an album that will reveal new faces and previously unheard layers with repeated listens. What it is, however, is gloriously stupid, gleefully Neanderthalic, skull-crushingly heavy slam death metal that manages simultaneously to epitomise all the best of the genre without completely overshooting it and succumbing to its many pitfalls-- as slam death metal goes, it really doesn't get much better than this.