Drowning for Salvation
Brutal Death Metal
Italian brutal death metal has excited me a little, what with the excellent releases by bands like Antropofagus and the likes being some of the more punishing yet satisfying stuff of the year so far. While not exactly a brand new release, last year saw Italy’s Onicectomy releasing their debut full length album under Russia’s Coyote Records, which also boasts the impressive Taiwanese brutal death metal band Revilement in their roster.
With the flood of metal releases in recent years, Onicectomy certainly faces a challenge in making themselves stand out in the sea of brutal death metal bands that has sprouted over the years, especially with the new genres like deathcore that have come about along with the development of brutal death metal. And the band definitely surprises listeners, as album opener Brain Pressure Breaking Skull starts off with chimes, setting the haunting mood in the music with sounds of death and gore at the background, rather than choosing the trodden path of complete, aimless brutality. This is not to discount the brutality of the band’s music though, clearly evident as the band begins their onslaught proper, as the crushing riffs and the hammering drums punish the listener relentlessly.
The technicality that the band has included in their music is clear as well, with the complex riffs that are present in the music that goes well in adding colour to the brutality in the music. For example, the band often hides complicated lead guitars beneath the crushing riffs above, such as on Huma Flesh Dressing. The drumming of Giovanni is also impressive, and his versatility in various styles of drumming are shown as he easily moves between faster, straightforward blasting sections and more technical and complex ones. The punchy basslines of Klaudio is also reminiscent of bands like Defiled, though not as flamboyant as the aforementioned. And to top off the overall package of crushing music on Drowning for Salvation, there is the gurgling vocals of Savino, and any desire to or need for lyrics to understand the content of Onicectomy is removed with the tortured vocals conjuring images of gore, violence and torture. The band also surprises listeners with the interlude I Hope You Die, which contrary to its hateful title is a rather soothing acoustic track with somewhat calming melodies. Who said that metalheads don’t have a soft side?
The band has also chosen a rather raw and stripped down production quality on Drowning for Salvation, which while mostly suitable in bringing forth the raw energy that is present in the music, at times sound rather inconsistent, even within a track. There are also times when the guitar tones sound rather thin, causing the impact of the riffs contained within the album to sound weaker than they should really be. The rhythm guitars is also often mixed much too high compared to the leads, causing the ingenious leads to be buried too deep within the mix and one often finds himself straining to catch these moments. Fortunately though, the blasting rhythm section of the band more than makes up for these little weaknesses, resulting in an overall rather satisfying listening experience.