Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Loculus - Sinew [EP]

Those of you that attend metal shows know that there’s almost always one or two local opening acts. Most of the opening acts at the Seattle shows I go to are shitty deathcore bands. But there have been some gems that have gotten their name out, bands such as Blood and Thunder (melodic death), Six Days of Darkness (deathcore), Phalgeron (death metal), Super Happy Story Time Land, (melodic death), The Accused (thrash metal), and a few others. Loculus was one of the local openings for a show I saw just last month with Origin, Aborted, Decrepit Birth, Rings of Saturn, Cattle Decapitation, and Battlecross. I came to that show to see technicality, but most of all, brutality. I’ll tell you this, Loculus got things started on the right note by bringing nothing but brutality. Having a pure brutal death sound with some great breakdowns, I had to pick up this EP at their merch table. When I looked them up on Spirit of Metal the next day, to my surprise, Loculus isn’t from Washington, they’re from fucking Virginia! What the hell was an east coast band doing all the way over here being the local opener for a show?? That aside, I’ve been super eager to tell all of you about this monstrous EP.

When I listened to the CD for the first time, I instantly recognized all of the songs from the show (I even remembered the song titles). But before we get into each individual song, let’s discuss the album and band as a whole. After seeing them live and listening to this EP that was released two years ago, there’s an obvious amount of improvement that had been made. The biggest improvement that was made was in the drums. The drummer at the show was fucking barbaric with his kick drumming and his blast beats. But in this EP, the kick drums aren’t that fast and the drummer falls in-and-out of time in some places. But in this recording, the drummer plays a very generic, but modernized brutal death style. He does show a lot of creativity and a strong ability to keep things interesting by not just doing “blast beat…..breakdown….fill….blast beat….fill…breakdown..etc.”

The guitars have a really thick and crunchy distortion; just what I like to hear! They’re not like many brutal death records where the distortion is so high that the chords they’re playing are less than obvious; you can hear everything the guitarists are playing loud and clear. The bass is nice and meaty which gives a fat lower end to increase the brutality level. The vocals are very deep inhaled growls that have a strong and clean sound. I can’t think of any other way to describe them.

Ok, now I’m going to do what I do with every EP I review, to a track-by-track analysis.

The first song on the EP is Chainsaw Disfigurement (which is apparently their most popular track). Although this track has plenty of awesome grooves, the drumming is very loose and the band doesn’t seem to be very tight at all. The kick drumming seems to be out of time, the guitarists are obviously having some trouble playing some of the technical riffs, and the song is unorganized. The breakdowns also seem randomly placed and unpredictable (the bad kind of unpredictable). On the upside, the song isn’t a complete disaster and the vocals are AMAZING!

Hacked Apart is definitely my favorite track. When they came on with that explosive intro, I couldn’t contain myself at all in the pit; I went fucking crazy. The guitars and drums still don’t quite match up, but they’re not nearly as bad as in Chainsaw Disfigurement. The vocalist has one of the coolest inhaled growls, I can’t stress that enough, they sound AWESOME!! This song is much more interesting than the previous one in terms of structure and composition. It has a much more complex song structure and does a great job of not repeating the shitty riffs and repeating the catchy ones. The breakdown in the second half is brutal as fuck, and the song even includes a shredding guitar solo! How often do you hear a guitar solo in a brutal death song that hasn’t been done by Nile, Suffocation, Hate Eternal, or Aborted??

Ocular Extirpation has the same basic sound as Chainsaw Disfigurement, so I’m not going to spend time repeating myself. The Mutilator is a headbanging song. The track kicks off with a show chugging guitar riff that is guaranteed to at least get your head nodding. This is the brutal track that the crowd loved and drooled over when I saw them. Overall, this EP is a fucking monster and I highly recommend that you pick it up if you’re a fan of slamming brutal death. I would give this record a score of 14/20 for being great for a debut release.