First things first, I just want to point out that this album is an absolute treat to listen to. I’m not sure what kind of voodoo magic CULTURE KILLER have going on in the studio, but HOLY SHIT. A lot of bands these days are processed to hell and back, and they have this very ‘sharp’ sound to them that makes it fatiguing to listen to, but not this record. I honestly don’t think you’re going to find anything that sounds as meaty and powerful as Throes of Mankind (November 27, Metal Blade Records), while still maintaining clarity and precision. Seriously, if I honestly did NOT like these songs, I’d still listen to it, simply for the dynamics and presence of the audio itself; fortunately for me, the music that accompanies the sonic palette I described is also pretty fucking rad.
This band wastes no time getting right to the heavies, and it pretty much stays that way throughout the album. To be perfectly blunt, sometimes the songs tend to run into each other and sort of… glaze over at times, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re all still packed with energy and some pretty bone crushing riffs. On my first listen through I was in the gym, so I didn’t actually pay too much attention to it, but after a few more spins in a more focused environment, I noticed some rather awesome touches in quite a few of the songs. Have you ever heard a rock and roll/hardcore/blues/metalcore band? That’s the awesome touches I’m talking about. Somehow, these boys managed to pull off some huge rock/blues/goddamn near 80’s hair metal inspired guitar solos (see “Justice Through Retaliation”), all while holding down the metalcore genre in the background. It’s actually super cool to hear something like that amidst all the cookie cutter breakdown/techno/glitch-core bands out there that seem to pop up in droves these days.
As a whole, this release is quite unique. From the musicality, to the songwriting and the talents of the vocalist. I’d like to shine a special light on the vocals actually, because this guy sounds fucking savage. Not sure where it comes from, but it sounds like he’s ripping his throat out the whole time. Thankfully, the lyrical content also follows this trend of being different from the norm. They’re not constantly bitching about a girl that left or how mad they are at “That fucking bitch” or whatever. To be clear, those subjects are totally okay to vocalize. It’s perfectly fine to write lyrics about heartbreak, and romantic angst…AS LONG AS YOU DO IT ELOQUENTLY AND WITH SOME TACT. I swear to fuck if I hear, “I just wish you knew how I felt!!” one more time in a breakdown I’m going to eat a bullet. Thankfully, they dodged at least 98% of cliches found in the metalcore industry, so thank you CULTURE KILLER.
Overall, this isn’t an album I’m going to praise and worship for the rest of my days, but not every album can earn that title. However, this is a solid piece of work from front to back, and I would recommend anyone that listens to heavy music to go and pick it up. After hearing this thing start to finish a few times, I want to catch them live and see if they bring the same thundering sound to the stage as they do on a CD.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Justice Through Retaliation”, “(Sub)Stance”