Death metal can be a surprisingly malleable genre, able to be mixed with all sorts of influences and still come out sounding cohesive and inimitably in the form of the bands who first started the genre, but sometimes you don’t want technical death metal or any of those hybridized genre blends, sometimes you just want unyieldingly brutal, cacophonous and raw death metal. Vomit Forth’s latest effort is exactly that and is one of the heaviest albums I have ever heard.
There’s a brief ambient track – “Untitled” right at the start of the album that’s actually pretty good, it’s not super common for proper death metal to both with intro’s and interludes but it’s quite welcome here, it lends this supernatural sort of gravitas to the initial few tracks of the album that helps to frame and contextualize the upcoming intensity, lending an air of focus and intent to it too.
It would be wrong to say the first proper track of “Seething Malevolence” carries over exactly from the ambient intro but “Eucharist Intact” capitalizes upon the albums mysterious opening with an extraordinarily loud opening, replete with an unholy amount of clipping and an extremely distorted and messy guitar tone, this is mixed with resonant and unfiltered percussion and astonishingly brutal vocals. The result is shocking, and will not be to everyone’s taste, the production here is intentionally low rent and challenging, but it is all in the name of trying to accentuate the brutally charged and vicious riffs that form the compositional basis of the song. It works for me, but it’s certainly a risky decision and one that will have as many detractors as it will fans.
The following song, “Pain Tolerance” is hardly one to give your bleeding ears much of a rest however, with a truly evil sounding riff commencing proceedings and blowing out your speakers instantaneously. The vocals are outstanding here if you happen to like death metal’s trademark gurgles and groans, but the vocals also occasionally stray into grindcore territory, sounding like a pig squeal brought down three octaves and processed through a dollar store microphone. There’s a brief lull in the middle of the song where the composition is stripped back to its core and minimalist percussion and guitar parts combine together to grant an extremely brief reprise from the absolutely unbelievable intensity of past few minutes, before quickly returning to it’s inimitably harsh sound again.
Upon a first listen, it’s kind of hard to adjust to just how raw the sound is, and I’m not someone who shies away from the most extreme of extreme sounds. It really is something to behold just how every element of the music combines to make “Seething Malevolence” almost impossibly heavy. It isn’t quite on the noise side of things, but it certainly borders it, and it is only on account of its relatively perceptible tones and recognizable instrumentation that it is not, but that is not to say it isn’t an immediately exhilarating experience.
The intensity somehow manages to ramp up for “Unrecognizable” into something that is frankly astonishing, the clipped production, the complete lack of build up and all of the fantastically headbangable riffs just demolish the listener instantly, it’s something to behold, you can’t do this in a cheap or lazy way, you can’t just turn your amp up and yell into a microphone and make something like this. Things are even better when a brief guitar solo cuts in atop of the utterly indescribably layer of noise beneath it, which is nothing technically impressive but it’s reminiscent of a lot of the stuff you’d actually hear in blackened thrash style tracks, and it shows that what is here is not just true death metal, but is also complete extreme metal worship through and through.
It’s at this point we arrive at the title track, “Seething Malevolence” and it does not disappoint, it keeps the intensity of everything before it up, but has its own distinctive sound encapsulated by a more staggered, stumbling nature than what came before it. All of the main elements are still there, it’s just a slightly slower paced and sludgy affair then say, “Pain Tolerance” or “Unrecognizable.” This variety of approaches is much welcome and helps prevent the album becoming stale four tracks into its ten-track length.
Upon approaching the half way mark of the album, it is well worth noting that the album does pretty much trade on its heaviness alone, there’s not anything particularly profound here compositionally or thematically, it is angry music about being angry and doing angry things. That’s fine, but it does perhaps have the potential to elicit a small eye-roll from time to time, especially if you’re someone who likes an album to be transformative and filled with meaning and emotional variety. The question probably remains at that point, “Why the hell are you listening to death metal then?”
“Severely Wounded” bursts into life with a stormy, protracted doom metal style guitar section, before inevitably exploding into a formidable mess, chugging and riffing, spitting and sputtering, giving off all of the essential qualities of a wounded animal, perhaps as the title might suggest. It’s addictive, I could listen to it all day if it wouldn’t result in the untimely demise of my hearing and perhaps even my sanity – or what is left at it this far into the album.
Not to be outdone however, “Carnivorous Incantation” is a thrashy affair, replete with gnarly shredding and indignantly vile vocals. It cracks a smile on my face to hear something so full on, it’s so violent it should be criminal, it shouldn’t be allowed to go this hard, and yet it does, I can’t imagine what a pit would look like after this song was played, but it’s safe to say EMS would probably have their hands full for a long time afterwards and the janitors would probably quit on the spot.
It’s hard to believe that a band with a sound this nailed on and seemingly effortless only released their first album back in 2019 and that this here is their sophomore effort. It goes to show though that when the right musicians get together, have a similar vision and execute it fastidiously that it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been together – the end result will always be great. It is very exciting that such a young band could potentially carry this on for so much longer and if they do, I can see no reason why Vomit Forth wouldn’t become a major player in the Death Metal scene.
Separating up the album is the second interlude of the album, “I Feel Nothing.” It’s well needed by this point just to give the album a little change of pace, it is a shame then that it’s a pretty mindless and meandering affair, it’s kind of ominous but not really interesting. Still, it does what it needs to do and sets up the last two tracks of the album.
We’re straight back into the fray with “Predatory Saviour” it’s standard fare at this point but it’s well executed, and perhaps has a hint of Slayer in and amongst it’s nosiness. There is a slightly more prominent bass guitar at points in this song too and its a welcome addition. There’s a brief section where the song seems a little out of time too, is it a poly-rhythm or a mistake? Who knows but it doesn’t sound great, it’s over pretty soon however and doesn’t affect enjoyment too much.
The final track “Pious Killing Floor” is also the longest at just a fraction over 4 minutes, which is hardly a long song but on an album of tracks routinely sub 3 minutes in true death metal fashion, it certainly feels a lot longer. A long build up, a slightly clearer sound and a more varied sonic palette on display that eventually culminates in a solid ambient ending much in the same vein as the albums intro track all combine together to create a suitable and fitting ending to an excellent album
“Seething Malevolence” is skull crushingly harsh, ear evisceratingly hectic and so loud that if you played it through a decent set of speakers, your neighbors houses would collapse long before they could file a noise complaint. It’s not the most complex set of compositions, and it hits on the same notes a lot of the time, but it’s only 26 minutes long so realistically, it hardly ever becomes an issue.
Released By: Century Media Records
Release Date: July 8th, 2022
Genre: Death Metal
- Tyler Bidewell / Bass
- Nick Herrmann / Drums
- Ricky Brayall / Guitars
- Kane Gelaznik / Vocals
“Seething Malevolence” Track-list:
- Eucharist Intact
- Pain Tolerance
- Seething Malevolence
- Severely Wounded
- Carnivorous Incantation
- I Feel Nothing
- Predatory Saviour
- Pious Killing Floor
“Seething Malevolence” manages to be captivating and distinctive whilst also being indisputably some of the heaviest music out there at the moment. It is absolutely 100% worth a listen for any adrenaline junkies out there who crave a sound as harsh as they do fresh