Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Acranius - When Mutation Becomes Homicidal

Acranius is a German deathcore band. They’re not really that well-known here in America, but they did get the attention of some Europeans with their EP from a few years ago. What first caught my interest about this album was the artwork. But this album is proof that an incredible album cover doesn’t always mean incredible music. These guys are from the realm that Annotations of an Autopsy, Oceano, and Whitechapel are from; the realm that is a little more on the heavier side of things. Although for some bands, this may be true, that statement is an outright understatement in the case of Acranius. People that are fans of the most extreme and the most brutal deathcore band out there NEED to have this band, because there are VERY few deathcore bands that I’ve heard that are as brutal as these guys (let alone more brutal). Where do these guys get their brutal sound from?

Well, once you take a look at some of the band’s photos, you’ll see that all the members are pretty much almost always wearing brutal death band shirts (Abominable Putridity, Vulvectomy, Guttural Secrete, Cephalotripsy, that kind of shit). Seeing that this isn’t something that you would normally see on the chests of deathcore musicians, these guys probably have their own unique twist on the genre. Obviously, that twist is the slamming brutality that comes from bands like Devourment, Guttural Secrete, Pathology, Nile, Aborted, etc. But after listening to this album for a few weeks, it’s turning out to not be that much different than any other really heavy deathcore record.

In fact, these guys are pretty much a carbon copy of bands like I Declare War, Oceano, Thy Art is Murder, and Aegaeon, except with twice as many breakdowns, no screaming (just growling), and a bit more brutal. Pretty much everything on this album is a breakdown followed by the same breakdown, only slower, and then a different breakdown, followed by THAT breakdown, only slower, and so on. There are a few parts here and there that keep up a heavy pace. Songs like Life Sustainment to Continue Mutilation and Low Budget Autopsy have some pretty fucking catchy riffs with really fancy drum fills. But other than that, it’s the same thing, and although the brutality is mesmerizing at first, it gets old and even annoying after a few songs.

And it’s not even that, because the musicianship isn’t bad. It’s just that everything is WAY too predictable. There are several bands that use A LOT of breakdowns that I like because they keep things unexpected and unique. Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, and Delusions of Grandeur are MASTERS at keeping that kind of shit interesting. But Acranius is one of the biggest failures at it. There are times where you can predict the exact pattern of the next breakdown before it happens; it’s that ridiculous. Plus, these guys have the same problem that I Declare War and Aegaeon have; monotony.

Monotony in deathcore is an automatic buzz kill no matter how brutal or technical your band is; it just ruins everything. There is literally no way to tell the songs apart; all of them sound identical. It’s like listening to a repetitive song 12 times in a row, it just annoys the fuck out of you. I don’t know why these guys are so fucking monotonous when it’s crystal fucking clear that YOU ARE ALL GOOD MUSICIANS. WHY WOULD YOU RELEASE SOMETHING THAT IS LESS THAN YOUR FULL POTENTIAL?? The drummer is awesome! He’s got a lot of skill, technicality, and he NEVER falls out of time. He’s probably the only thing about this album that stays interesting from start to finish!

The vocalist is probably the worst part of this bunch. First off, he sounds constipated…literally. Second, he does the EXACT SAME FUCKING THING THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME. The growls are VERY brutal, and they sound cool. But not when it’s the only type of vocal on the entire fucking record. The pig squeals don’t even count because they sound so similar to the guy’s growls. This guy needs to do more than what he’s done here, because this is pathetic. I wouldn’t be so hard on him if his growls had more of an emotional sound to them. But they don’t even change in pitch. But what also makes the vocals bad is the rest of the band. The monotony in the guitars and in the song structures. The reason why I’m able to listen to bands that have monotonous vocals like Visceral Disgorge, Ezophagothomia, and Disentomb is because the music behind the vocals is so interesting and mind-melding that it makes up for the monotonous vocals.

Deathcore fans are guaranteed an enjoyable experience with this album. If you’re way into deathcore, chances are that you’ll dig this. But if you’re someone that requires brutality that’s interesting and attention-grabbing, just skip this one, it’s not really worth your time. Although this is one of the single most brutal deathcore albums I’ve ever heard, it’s also one of the most boring. Acranius have reminded me that there’s still a lot of boring deathcore stuff out there and that the generic base is still there and being abused. So if you’re looking for just straight-up brutal deathcore, give these guys a listen because they’re not shitty. But for me, this album gets an 8/20.