DEATHcore. Notice the Emphasis.

Oct. 22, 2015


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Another one from Satanath Records. Poland continues to do us right. Today's topic of discussion is Manipulation's Ecstasy. Manipulation plays deathcore, but they do so without falling into most of the trappings that come with playing that style in the US. No bro-fists, no beatdowns, no neck tattoos. This is DEATHcore.

Now in general, you will find the usual fusion of death metal riffing with breakdowns and headbang-inducing groove. But it takes a certain level of finesse to get this formula just right. Take Exhibit A: "Lifetime." First of all, that vocal hook is killer. Something about the measured cadence works so well. Then we have the alternation between vile, old-school tremolo action and bouncing, crunchy bass tones. And just when you think you've taken it all in, that awesome solo kicks in. Unlike bands like Oceano, Manipulation knows how to build a song with more than a steaming pile of palm mutes.

The chug is certainly still there, but it's just one small piece of the puzzle. Even when compositions are kept a bit simpler, the end result can be rather satisfying due to strong placement decisions and tone. Take Exhibit B: "Sunset Over Vatican." First of all, the opening solo is another one of the stronger ones on the album. But beyond that, the guitar work is purposefully basic. Simple chord progressions, the aforementioned chugging, a few squeals for good measure. But the way that they join with the absolutely dominating Vaderish vocal presence, subtle symphonic additions, and carefully measured drum work is quite stunning in my opinion.

Manipulation have quite a few skills up their sleeves. They pull off a great melodic intro on "Temples of Vanity," but without devolving into further core tropes. Ecstasy's philosophy seems to be "if it ain't heavy, don't bother." There is some singing on the title track, but it reminds me more of Fear Factory than any core band for some reason. And it doesn't hurt that it's also a solid conclusion to the album. I also applaud the use of their native language on "Dźwięk Upadku." This can be a risky move in terms of building a wider audience, but I think it serves bands well to not always depend to English. And let's face it, by comparison English is a boring language. I can think of at least 10 that sound infinitely more metal.

So if you can get down with this, it's available through bandcamp as well as through the Satanath website. As always, I encourage you not to get hung up on labels and genres, but to just let the intensity beat you to a bloody pulp. Enjoy.