Review Summary: heavy as a really heavy thingSold Out
. This isn’t a dig at a band gone foul. Instead, it’s a prevailing theme on one particular Bandcamp page. Orange Mathematics
was a bit of a perpetual hype machine; each vinyl repressing and every somewhat miniscule announcement of mug paraphernalia was met with a collective holy *** take my money
and I guess it isn’t entirely difficult to see why. The Name-Your-Price Tony Dillinger Car Bomb Meshuggahganza onslaught that was Frontierer’s debut record acted simultaneously as an incredibly effective morning alarm and also the perfect tech demo for Line 6 Spider warriors everywhere. Pedram Valiani & Co. took bits and bobs from a variety of heavy things and made something fairly ridiculous. And for all its faults with unwavering uniformity, the spectacle alone was enough to be a worthwhile experience. While Sectioned are the origin, the tidal wave of chaos violently ripped up by the masses with Orange Mathematics
has most certainly had a role in shaping Annihilated
into one of the most stupidly brutal releases in the past few years.
I’m reminded of The Amity Affliction’s Chasing Ghosts
record when gazing upon the cover for this release which is quite amusing. Both records could just about graze the fields of metalcore but while The Amity Affliction are delighting in cud and drinking deep of bountiful troughs, Sectioned are pillaging the farm of its nutrients with automatic weaponry and chainsaws. Suitably, the opening word of the album is “Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” and you’d have to really try to be able to convince me that the execution isn’t reminiscent of the sort of noise a gun wielding maniac would espouse upon learning that he has an entire field of cows to aim sight at. In keeping with theme, the instrumentation backing up Jamie Christ’s sacrilegious activity ploughs on relentlessly as round after round of kick drum compression hell pepper the livestock. Impressively enough, the sonic landscape is surprisingly clear all things considered. As violently loud as every second of Annihilated
might be, the cymbals are actually an audible component of the cullings which unearths a couple of nice intricacies here and there to the drumming performance (a step up from Orange Mathematics
with a kit essentially comprising of a snare, kick, and tom).
The formalities extend further with the infamous guitar tomfoolery and mechanical tone living in a constant state of leave the hall
. While much comedic gold can be found in lyricism that could only be coined by metal musicians living in Scotland, the bombast blast from the daft in “Betrayer” does manage to describe things pretty well (silliness aside);
“Masochistic life of pain”
Hyperbole this may be, inaccurate it most certainly is not. While the vitriol of this record translates well to a nice pair of headphones in a quiet room, and even better to a studio speaker setup, you have to reserve some self-hatred when it comes to performing such a record in a practise room before a gig. “Toothgrinder” is probably what your nan thinks metal sounds like; it is borderline brainless with its only defining quality being how bloody loud it is. Just under a minute of a two and a half minute song is spent on one open-string blast-driven riff and breakdowns. In hot pursuit, “Eigengrau” brings fairly standard beatdown chugging alongside a breakdown or two of its own and your typical Pedram Valiani Bloopy Bloop™ noises to keep things Scottish. Considering Sectioned are seemingly pushing away from their debut EP, opting instead to lean towards slightly less progressive songwriting based on a grindy powerviolence foundation, the issue of homogeneity that leaked into Frontierer’s work feels a bit more evident here. The cascading cacaphony has been largely replaced with fairly standard blasting (albeit at tempos that’ll still warrant decent surprise) and familiar melodic ideas drawn from a smaller pool of influence.
For all of my gripes with the snare-centric shenanigans on Orange Mathematics
, it was able to compensate for potential repetition by riding on the lack of care given to sticking with a time signature or pulse. Spontaneity, for every trap and trapping it comes with, felt at home within the punishing sound. And while tracks like “Victorious, Neverending” are pitch-perfect showcases of Sectioned’s ability to weave between fantastic passages and disconnected soundscapes fluently, it isn’t as common a feat as it really could be. A lesser emphasis on the absurd squawks and decorations throughout the record brings more attention to the simpler offerings. This isn’t to say the interplay of standard riffs and machine sounds is the main point of interest in a Sectioned track, but it removes some of the intrigue in songs like “Beautiful Struggle” and “Starved Lives” which rest entirely upon riffing and percussion that can be found elsewhere on the record.
Sectioned are their own band, sure. But the way in which the Frontierer project was able to showcase the balls-to-the-wall insanity of Sectioned’s own Outlier
EP and turn it into something new by introducing elements from a host of sources managed to bring just enough pizazz to prevent staling. The EP managed to do more in its brief runtime than Annihilation does with an LP timeslot to work with. That being said, Sectioned have not taken a step back here. With mammoths like “Portrait” and “Through The Trees”, they’ve backended an already solid record with some of the best material both projects have seen, and the levels of carnage throughout are basically unmatched in current core arena. It isn’t screaming “essential” at me like Orange Mathematics
did, and it isn’t the warped powerhouse that Outlier
was. It does do just enough to make my ears bleed and my jowls quiver though. It’s damn heavy. It’s damn addictive. And it’s damn good.