Sometimes a band comes along that is hard to pin down to just one particular genre of metal. Take CONVULSE for example, and their new album Cycle of Revenge (out now, Svart Records). Sure it is predominantly Death Metal, but there are times when the music veers off into almost Doom territory. Other times it swings on over to the corner of Prog Ave and Groove Blvd. The point is over the course of these eight songs you really don’t know what you’re gonna get next, which is something I thought was pretty cool. Admittedly I’m new to CONVULSE, so I am completely unbiased one way or the other. However, that’s not to say they didn’t make me a fan, because I surely am now.
If one were to look for an example of the first two tracks on a record being as different as night and day, then I offer opener (and album favorite) “Cycle of Revenge” and “God Is You.” The former is slow, steady, and ominous, with an intro that builds and builds into a guttural monster that will steamroll right over you, complete with a mind-bending guitar solo. The latter has some trippy effects going on and is fast, upbeat, and tightly wound. You wouldn’t expect the deep guttural vocals to fit the music but they do, like a glove. There is a lot about these guys that is fresh and new, even though they’ve been around over 25 years, albeit with an extended hiatus in the middle.
Songs like “Fractured Pieces” and “Nature of Humankind” show completely different sides of the band, yet both are still nice and heavy. “Ever Flowing Stream” sounds as twisted as it does tortured and evil while “Pangaea” rips through the landscape with a white-hot fuzz guitar attack, galloping all the way. It’s very easy to get lost in this album because each track paints a different picture. Some bands can do this and make it look easy; others just sound pretentious. Fortunately CONVULSE is very natural and never sounds forced. Closer “Into the Void” only proves my point further. Sounding almost nothing like the previous tracks it still sits well as the right one to end things and was another instant standout.
Overall I was highly impressed with Cycle of Revenge. It’s a great introduction to a band I wasn’t all that familiar with, and a record I now spin at least once daily. This is CONVULSE doing it their way, how they want. It is an album that is brutally heavy and totally uncompromising. I’m not sure exactly what the band was trying to accomplish, but with each listen I become more convinced that they nailed it. I highly recommend this one, guys.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Cycle of Revenge”, “Into the Void”, “Ever Flowing Stream”, “God Is You”, “Nature of Humankind”