Review Summary: A lack of depth.
About the only thing I knew about this band going into this listening experience was that they hailed from West Palm Beach, Florida. I lived down there for a little while and figured I would give it a spin. I had to set all my preconceived notions aside, because the name of the band hints at a certain style. I imagined pummeling breakdowns that would coincide with tempo drops, extremely down-tuned guitars, blast beats and cookie monster vocals. I hate to judge a book by its cover, but this one pretty much summed the whole thing up.
If you dig Acacia Strain, Thy Art is Murder, Black Tongue, etc. you will certainly find familiarity here. It has pretty much everything those bands have brought to the table. So, if a deathcore fix is what you need then clearly this record will appease the beast. There are some groovy rhythms, chugs galore and some massive breakdowns. For how loud and brash this band most certainly is live, the recording is absolutely spit shined. The drums are quantized to a fault, and while there is a ton of energy in the tunes, the piss has been completely wrung out digitally. There is very little depth to the guitar playing. Normally in this genre, one aspect that can set a band apart is atmosphere, and this record exhibits very little. “Birthrite” and the final track “Dead Dawn” use eerie riffage behind the breakdowns that seem lifted right off Thy Art is Murder’s, “Holy War”.
The one thing that I enjoyed immensely was the vocal performance, but not for reasons that one might find endearing. They are exactly what you would expect; brutal, front-and-center in the mix and as squeaky clean as the rest of the production. Vocalist Oscar Ledesma pronounces words very well, which may be a fault considering the lack of depth in his lyrics. This from the single “Birthrite”:
I'm going crazy I think I'm at the brink / This constant noise so loud I can't even think
Worthless opinions spit at my face / My brain is melting, it's full of distaste
Or check out these lyrics to begin the record on “Rotten”,
I cannot feel anything anymore, intense decay, rotten to the core!
This opening line perfectly explains what I find so enjoyable. When Ledesma reaches the word “core” he just completely overdoes it. The comedy provided is hysterical. He leads off almost every breakdown with some of the funniest lines ever. He drops pig squeals in here and there, and the diversity he does provide is so over the top, it is infectious. The F-bomb on “The Family Heirloom” is a riot, but the pig squeal and ride fill that follow brought tears of laughter. Absolutely classic. Oh, and just in case you did not get the full effect of the first F-bomb, don’t worry, he does it again in “King of Destruction”. Oh, and again in “Dead Dawn”.
So, while I am not changed in any way, or moved emotionally, or impressed at all, I kind of enjoyed the half hour of music Existence Has Failed delivered. It was a hoot. It was a fun and juvenile little deathcore romp through the pit. Will I listen to it again? No.