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The Canadian death metal scene is an underground sea of brutality, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring presence. From countless offerings to choose from in the form of the likes of more obscure greats such as AEPOCH to more well-known acts like Beneath The Massacre, there is truly an abundance of crushing riffs and fast paced destruction that sweeps and trickles down from our northern brethren. Today's band, Accursed Spawn by name, is no different. Formed in 2010 in the heart of Ottawa, Ontario, these gore-obsessed death metallers have thus far released a couple of EPs in the past, with this new effort being their debut full length album. Time to check it out and see what all the fuss is about...
The Virulent Host is the ominous title of Accursed Spawn's first full length and it is clear from the get-go that they're taking a bit of a brutal/techy approach here. Mind you, I haven't listened to the previous EPs, so I'm solely judging this one on its own merits. Anyway, this new release boasts nine songs, amounting to over forty minutes of brutal content. Additionally, the record is apparently being released through the PRC Music label, which saw the release of many other notable acts, particularly Pyrrhon as well as Beyond Creation.
The Virulent Host sets out with a strong first impression in the form of 'Bhopal '84', which also happens to be possibly the strongest track on the album. This four or so minute opening track does so many things right in terms of brutality, edgy yet technical riffs and technical prowess that it could put almost any death metal fan on edge. The Dying Fetus-esque guitars combined with blast beats and decent vocal growls really ties everything together in this release for the most part. Roughly 85% of The Virulent Host is on a lightning pace, though there are notable segments, especially in later tracks, in which the tempo slows down a bit to make way for a melodic section or some guitar solo action.
'Bloodforged' is a shorter song on here that relies on fast-paced chromatic riffs and shredding to get its point across. Overall, it's not the most memorable offering, but it does have kind of a decent outro. 'Interrogated Bludgeoning' is another formidable song, though it feels like it drags on a bit long, but the inclusion of variety really hits the mark for me in all the tracks after that. From the catchy tremolo riffs in 'The Virulent Host' to the oldschool death metal vibes and breakdowns in both 'Cesium 137' as well as 'Shotgun Facelift', this album does a ton of things that work in its favour and really breaks it down to create an identity for itself. The energy and musicianship on here rarely ever lost me and I felt a lot of satisfaction by the time 'Dogmatic Affliction', the outro track, come on and wrapped everything up.
In all, the debut offering courtesy of Accursed Spawn is certainly one that is worthy of spawning more brutal riffs and hard-hitting technicality for the band in the future. It's pure, unadulterated death metal on the surface; however, once listeners dive in deeper when it comes to The Virulent Host, it is made apparent that the conjunctive display of complex musical patterns and edgy, fast-paced vibes is actually fairly flexible at its core: a factor of this album that helps to make the artists' brand of death metal one that rather sticks out.
Fave Tracks: 'Bhopal '84', 'Cesium 137', 'Shotgun Facelift'
For Fans Of: Cryptopsy, Internal Bleeding, Skinless
**This release is available now here and at other fine retailers!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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