Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Bands To Watch: Strychnia - Reanimated Monstrosity (2013)

Hello folks, I'm back again with some tasty new death metal for y'all. This time it's Dayton, New Jersey's Strychnia and their EP "Reanimated Monstrosity". Enjoy...

1. Reanimated Monstrosity (Feat. John Gallagher)
2. War Sermon
3. Killdozer
4. Cephalectomy
5. Slaughtered

It's not very often that a band comes to my attention and ticks all the right boxes almost instantly, leaving me salivating at their very mention like one of Pavlov's famous dogs and craving more (if you don't know who Pavlov is, then I'm guessing most of you are grown up enough to look it up). This phenomenon has happened less than a dozen times in my lifetime (in terms of death metal at least), and in each case has led to me going on a fan bender for the band in question, and buying every piece of even vaguely cool looking merch/every album possible that they've released, Aborted, Exodus and Obituary being notable examples. But after over a decade of metal devotion and 8 solid years of being a disciple of all things brutal, I've become incredibly picky and not at all easy to impress. Anyway, I digress...

That thing I just rambled on about for ages? This is one of those deals.

Before I even start to play this EP I can tell I'm going to at least enjoy it in some way. Brutal-as-fuck artwork from one of my favourite death metal album artists (Marco Hasmann)? Check. Guest Appearance from a highly regarded death metal veteran (John Gallagher from the mighty Dying Fetus)? Check. On paper this sounds fantastic. So I bought the EP after hearing nothing but the title track once, I cautiously locate the album in iTunes and press play...

Am I disappointed? FUCK NO!

As soon as the main riff of the title track phases in and everything kicks off, I find myself pleasantly surprised. High quality production, solid drumming, headbang-able and rememberable riffs, it's all there. And then John Gallagher's part appears and the riff to accompany his vocals could not compliment his style more perfectly. This is then followed by an enjoyable solo and lots of groove. I find myself thinking "if this EP keeps this up I'll be very impressed.."

And guess what, they do!!

"War Sermon" keeps it brutal and causes me only to fall in love with this band more. The breakdown at 1:28 is absolutely fucking crushing. To me, the band seems to have taken the best parts of Dying Fetus and some of the top Slam band like Ingested and blended them seamlessly. Vocalist Kevin O'Laughlin's contributions are truly spectacular, from powerful mid-range barks to some brilliant high shrieks.

"Killdozer" is much shorter in comparison, but at no point do the band show any signs of letting up, especially during the song's bridge, which contains yet another sick breakdown.

However the crowning song of the EP in my opinion is "Cephalectomy" without a shadow of a doubt. Opening with some lovely Nile-esque harmonies lead into crushing slams and brutal chug riffs. This song for me brings together everything enjoyable about the EP into one catchy wonderful package.

This stellar release comes to a close with the addition of a Pantera cover, "Slaughtered", which is only available as a bonus track for those who bought the EP in its entirety. The band manages to do exactly what most people hope for with a cover song - make it unquestionably theirs without detracting from the quality of the original.

This EP has impressed me greatly, the high quality production and artwork as well as the incredible amount of thought that has gone into crafting these very enjoyable songs. My only wish is that it was longer. Fans of Dying Fetus will love these but conceivably any fan of death metal would find something to enjoy here. Check it out. The band has the EP up for streaming on bandcamp and considering it's only $5 (£3.30 or so to UK residents) it really is worth such a small price, plus if you buy the whole EP you get the cover as a bonus. These guys are going for it in a big way to get their name out there, so do them a favour and show your support by legitimately buying this magnificent S.O.B!


Reanimated Monstrosity is available from Strychnia's bandcamp here

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