Review Summary: Blackcore was inevitable, and here it is.
We happen to live in times where we can observe muscial genres spawn and die at the drop of a hat, and likewise they intermingle and merge liberally, creating fundaments on which the process can repeat once again - and the process appears to have accelerated compared to the past. We've borne witness to the birth of deathcore, then what is known by many as djent, then we observed these two genres merge thanks to bands such as Veil of Maya or After the Burial and more. As it would happen, these days few bands even bother playing deathcore without any form of math metal accretions.
Even later followed a wave of bands not content with the formula and eager to throw in even more into the mix, in the form of symphony and electronics, and thus the "theatrical tech metal" as presented by Lorelei or Ovid's Withering was born. Some bands, such as Make Them Suffer went another route and were content to simply play blackened deathcore while omitting the djenty riffage, but others would continue down the previous road, further on. That brings us to the as-of-now culmination of the cycle: Assemble the Chariots and their EP The Sulphur Voids
On their first offering, these Finns have pushed the envelope of blackened deathcore even further, to the point where the black metal influences overtake the death metal ones, with the only deathcore influence left being the chugs - most of them quite polyrhythmic at that. But discard the chugs and you're left basically with mid-career Dimmu Borgir with their haunting symphonies, relentless blast beats and venomous progressions, basically everything that symphonic black metal consists of.
The first track, Sanctuary
, also the best track on the EP, exemplifies this perfectly - this is in my book the first textbook "blackcore" song. With the djenty influences still reasonably curbed, the black metal and the deathcore shine through entirely on this track. False Promises of Salvation
is more in the vein of modern, industrial-oriented black metal releases such as Dark Fortress' Ylem
, a midtempo fare almost free of any chugs. The last song, Infernal Tower Arise
is more or less the same deal, though once again showcases how one can seamlessly blend black metal savagery with breakdowns and do it in a way that won't make seem either feel out of place. That said, the polished production marred by the same flaws as most similar bands struggle with will definitely turn away the black metal purists. This is even less trve than Dimmu, that's for sure.
All in all, if you were ever curious what "blackcore" sounded like, these three songs are probably the closest thing there is to that. The Sulphur Voids
is a good choice in that matter, seeing how the sole newer song the band has released so far saw them move more towards a dark, symphonic djent sound of sorts, which is quite different. The EP is not bad, though could have been so much better if more care was put into the songwriting.