In a year already stoked with stellar Death Metal releases, New York brutalizers MALIGNANCY have opted to crash the party, returning from a five-year layoff with the release of their third full-length album, “Eugenics,” a Technical Brutal Death Metal record that is as mind-numbingly intricate as it is apocalyptically catchy.
Around since 1993, only founding frontman Danny Nelson remains from the band’s original lineup, and how pleased he must be with the sound that has evolved over so many endless jam sessions. From the band’s first full-length album, 1999’s slamming “Intrauterine Cannibalism,” to 2007’s ratcheted up “Inhuman Grotesqueries,” this latest record finds the band unleashing its most potent and devastating album yet, mixing modern brutality with an old-school twist that hears the band pushing its technical limits while adhering to interesting, progressive structures. “Eugenics” comes out swinging, never tires, and winds up setting the latest benchmark in Brutal American Death Metal.
From Nelson’s opening inhuman screech on “Type Zero Civilization,” the music bears down on the listener from all angles. Everything crushes, flies by at blinding speeds, and then stops on a dime, leveling with plodding groove-patterns. The drumming of FEAR FACTORY’s Mike Heller matches the incessant plucking and slapping of guitarist Ron Kachnic (ex-MORTICIAN) and bassist Roger J. Beaujard (MORTICIAN), and then some. For at least a couple reasons, it’s an album, not so far removed from ORIGIN’s latest masterpiece, “Entity.” “Eugenics” has appreciable multidimensionalism, coughing up even chunks of melody, barbarity, and technicality without sacrificing its aim of providing copious amounts of neck-snapping Death. Secondly, the musicians are at the top of their respective games, and ensure at least four different reasons to spin this album.
The songs on “Eugenics” range simply enough; they are either good, or they are great. The title track “Eugenics” is a punishing affair that plays with wild, volleying guitar riffs and bubbling bass runs before transitioning into a hammering chorus section. “Extinction Event” has more of that uncanny-sounding guitar work and yet another bouncing refrain that hits with sweetly placed pinch harmonics. The album highlight “Cataclysmic Euphoria” hits like a tornado thanks to Nelson’s werewolf vocals and – no surprises here – yet another immensely agreeable set of kinetic hooks.
MALIGNANCY have crafted an album that improves with each listen, and, as of now, has set the standard for Brutal Death Metal in 2012. Whereas some albums need time to grow, “Eugenics” is running from the womb with its mother’s heart in tow.
(Online September 12, 2012)