2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Is it possible to blend together many of the same, basic elements found in modern day death metal -- i.e. thrash tempos, hardcore breakdowns, airtight musicianship, some grindcore elements, occasional melodic guitar work, deathly grunts offset by higher-pitched screams, etc. -- yet, ironically, somehow come off sounding somewhat groundbreaking in the process? Absolutely, it is. For proof, proceed directly to Animosity's excellent third album, "Animal." With its surprisingly well-rounded tempos, accomplished writing, and far more distinguishable parts and individually-memorable songs than 2005's "Empires" (in itself a fine effort), this 2007 release is like a refreshing breath of fresh air. It may often fall in with the "deathcore" crowd, but the fact of the matter is that it is emphatically transcendental of that label. In fact, by drawing nearly equal amounts of influence from several different genres -- i.e. death metal, thrash, hardcore, metalcore, moshcore, crossover, groove metal, technical/math metal, deathcore, and both new/latter-day and old-school grindcore -- it is an amalgamation of all things heavy. (Think along the lines of Misery Index, Deicide, Dying Fetus, Slayer, Anthrax, Aborted, Brutal Truth, Job For A Cowboy, Suffocation, The Black Dahlia Murder, Hatebreed, and Decapitated.)
As a result, "Animosity" is an apt title for this record because it is a friggin' monster! Without a doubt, this is an extremely brutal, original, smartly-structured, technically-impressive (without being flashy or unbelievable), accessibly catchy (although not pop-ish), well-written, and accomplished affair. Furthermore, at only 29 minutes in length, it makes sure not to overstay its welcome -- it is short, sweet, and to the potent point. And after you top it all of with a crisp, clear, and thunderous production from Converge's iconic Kurt Ballou, it becomes clear that this is the sound of a band that is firing on all cylinders.
"Terrorstorm" is a face-ripping, smoke-inducing opening bludgeon that explodes with evil vocals (and even some Vital Remains-y a capella parts), great, scorching, buzzsaw riffage, deft, pummeling, dexterous blast beats (that showcase underrated skinsman Navene Koperweis' exceptional talent), and a few booming, mosh-pit-ready breakdowns. Beginning with industrial-strength chug and churn rhythms and eventually gaining substantial speed and heaviness, "Tooth Grinder" is a steady, hardcore-inflected death metal beating that evokes All Shall Perish and some Nineties-era grindcore stuff. "Bombs Over Rome" is a fairly breakneck thrash, grind, and technical death metal fusion not unlike Pig Destroyer. It has excellent, airtight trapkit annihilation -- including thunderous blasts, smart, stop-start fills, and tight, slamming thrash beats -- deep grooves, and catchy, propulsive guitars throughout. "Evangelicult" may be just a mere four seconds long, but it is nonetheless a big standout. This dissonant, lightning-fast blast of noise clearly takes cues from early Napalm Death (seriously, it sounds as if it could have been lifted wholesale off of ND's debut, 1987's "Scum").
The title tune and its successor, "Plunder Incorporated," play like full-on textbook hardcore. The former adheres to a very Bury Your Dead-esque formula of chunky breakdowns and the almighty guitar chug (although it does also tack on some "wah-wah" leads near the end); and the latter is highlighted by a strong groove reminiscent of Pantera, a cameo from Cattle Decapitation's Travis Ryan, and some memorable soloing, to boot. Indeed, six-stringer Frank Costa sure lets rip, here, with technical, wailing, unorthodox, Slash/Zakk Wylde-style wah-drenched solos. Track seven, "Operating From The Ditch" is a steamrolling death-grinder, and is ferociously driven by machine gun blasting, and nasty, goregrind-derived pig squeals. "You Can't Win" features abrasive, grinding, cement block-to-your-head riffs, but it is especially of note for its vocals (which range from wicked banshee shrieks to Cookie Monster growls to shout-along refrains that would not sound mismatched coming off of a New York City hardcore outing). The next two numbers are "Progression In Defeat," a blazing, no-holds-barred onslaught with Origin-worthy fretwork; and "Elucidation," which is math-y, Psyopus-esque, and highlighted by a mind-boggling drum performance. Last but not least, "A Passionate Journey" is a fairly mid-tempo set closer. And it more-or-less follows the traditional deathcore blueprint, with numerous breakdowns and chugging sections, heavy, lurching rhythms, 4/4 timing, and even some guest vocals from one of said genre's pioneers, The Red Chord's Guy Kozowyk.
"Animosity" is more-than-enough proof that this San Francisco-based quintet definitely ranks amongst the upper-tier of modern death-grind, and they easily stand above the vast majority of New Wave of American Death Metal bands. It would also not be an overstatement to say that they are one of the finest and most promising things to emerge from the extreme music scene since the year 2000. It is just so unfortunate that Animosity had to go and break-up in 2009, because had they kept going, they probably would have been huge!