The always excellent ProgCaveOgier and The (occasionally but not always) Great Mackintosh have joined forces to create another review of epic proportions, this time of the first full length from Australia’s Carcinoid. “Metastatic Declination“, is it’s name, as you can see from the title of this review somewhere up above, and it’s a fucking monster of a thing! Anyway, no more horseshit, get reading people!
If you want a vision of 2019, imagine a bucket pouring Death Metal on a human face forever. Yes, there has been loads of it. Some of it stands out, other gory bits simply land on your forehead, make a wet sound and pour off without leaving too much of a trace while it goes. Others… Well, they land heavier. Instead of tiny splutter of a sound they hit you like a sofa from the fourth floor window. “Aaaarrggh”, “Bam” and then an abrupt “GIMME MOOOOOOOREEE!!”. The debut album of Carcinoid being one of those gravity challenged sofa types.
These Australians released a highly potential demo last year and as the news of a full album coming out became apparent, I was keen to hear it from the very first second.The Demo was loud, doomy, and vile. You could almost visualise that vibrating low bass string, about the size of a teenagers arm, vibrating in front of you with every extended low note it produced. The demo had the sound and the songs right, but it still could not fully prepare us for what would be their first full album as a band, “Metastatic Declination”.
Usually the mandatory intros don’t do it for me and I’m sure most of the impatient types can agree with this. Yet, the opening of “Metastatic Declination”, “Dread”, serves here as a perfect introduction. It has that 1980’s B-Grade horror feel to it, and is not too far from what you could expect from an Acid Witch album and actually, it is pretty close to the bubbling and toxic qualities of the opening of the only ever Vacant Coffin album “Sewer Skullpture”. What follows the intro is pure ear candy for the beer and graveyard oriented. There’s Crust Punk, occasional Autopsy type doom and, savage, savage Death Metal all over. “Metastatic Declination” is definitely far more dynamic an affair than one could have even hoped for after the demo alone. The bass tone is distinctive and unpolished. Actually, it could be said of the whole production when you think of it. It’s as raw as caveman’s supper, but one can actually hear every instrument involved very well still. It is not the sound of stereos vomiting you get a lot these days, but a planned, minimalistic and powerful recording, with pure venomous and vile thoughts as the engine.
“The Drowning” as a tune reminds a lot of the late great Vallenfyre. It has that marriage of Death and Crustiness that Greg Mackintosh was after, but it is more Doom than Crust Punk, which was the case with the latter Vallenfyre records. Songs like “Rotting Beneath”, or “Ravenous Being” remind us of the importance of riffs too. Quality Death Metal is not only about a fuzzy sound and low growls alone, but there needs to be riffs too. Fat, brain melting, neck breaking riffs throughout! And in this department Carcinoid have become the masters. There is a hook in every tune on this 40 minute album, and that is a sweet thing. As the album fades out with my personal favourite song, “Sickness”, it is safe to say that one of the very best Death Metal albums out this year comes from Australia. Now – re-spin, grab a tinny, and go for a graveyard stroll!
Rating – 4.5/5
The Great Mackintosh.
The PCO has nailed it yet again, and this is why I normally let him go first, because then I just get to be a waffling goose, and yes we may cross similar theme’s, that’s because we often think alike, so there. take that.
Australia is not a foreign country to me, in fact I live there (or here), and I have seen many a great band come and go, or still remain and do well, or even hang around and just be a pain in the rectum, but we have had, and still have a few absolute gems. Let’s run with the likes of Armoured Angel, or Cruciform, or Mortal Sin. Maybe some Illimitable Dolor or some Gutless, or even some Vahrzaw or Envenomed, Futility and The Maledict, you name a genre, and we have a slew of them, and they are more than capable of holding their own on the world stage, those that are still around anyway. We cannot forget the late great Peter Hobbs and his band Hobbs Angel of Death as well in this discussion, as he was a true Australian Metal pioneer, and his recent death has only served to remind a lot of us that we not only have it good down here, we have it FUCKING good. We only have to look around us to find excellence, even though we often (and of this I myself am guilty), tend to look elsewhere and think the grass across the ocean is actually made of such superior shiny shit that we forget ours may be dry at times, extremely unforgiving, and yet so much harder than anything else on the planet. Heck, even the dirt under it doesn’t blow away as easily as some other shit I could mention.
This brings me to Melbourne’s Carcinoid, and I must say, the first one, their demo released way back in 2018 was, and is still, an amazing piece of work, so much so that as the PCO has previously stated, when I heard that they had a full length coming out I just about sharted myself. Seriously, if you haven’t heard the demo yet, well bugger, go and have a good hard look at yourself, give yourself a quick punch to the side of the head, and go get some. This band has pretty much blown my mind since it’s release, and have followed suit with magnificence. There are several reasons for that, as I am about to explain in the most typical way I can, that being nonsensical rantings and stupidity.
This is as heavy as all fuck, with such a tone and delivery that you could, and may very well, die for. As a fan of bands like Bolt Thrower, Runemagick, Desecresy, Autopsy, the original Decomposed, the list could go on, you will be eating this up like the well cooked and very flavoursome intestines of the roadkill your mother was kind enough to cook for you every Sunday night. This is the essence of pure nastiness, containing the griminess of the newer Death Metal acts that seems to be the the new thing lately, and a huge dose of homage to the forefathers (or mothers, or whatever) of old. I mean who’d have ever thought that you could get more putrid than Obituary’s classic “Cause of Death” back in the day. Many have achieved such lofty heights since, and a lot have put out albums of indecipherable gibber, but your soon to be best friends here at Carcinoid have achieved the perfect balance. Utter filth of the most punishing variety, yet possessing such clarity that you can hear the strings flap in the fetid breeze that surely surrounds them. Brutal without compromise, yet not resorting to a production level that makes you wince, these sick bastards have it all. On “Metastatic Declination”, they have essentially said to the Death Metal community “hold my beer..”, and their wretched tentacles have tightened their grip on my consciousness.
The intro, to me, sounds like you have “The Terminator” theme playing out of one speaker, and some sort of “Exorcist” type shit coming out of the other, and man it all ties together so well. I want an album full of this stuff alone! But then the second track rears it’s gargantuan head, ”Sorrow” and that first, of a shit ton to follow, ‘Death Grunt’ hits you, and well, just, fuck. That’s all I can say. The man on throat duty makes an absolute art out of the ‘Uuuuuurgghhh’, the ‘Eeeeearrghh’, the ‘Bleeeeaarggh’, the ‘Bluuuuuurrgghhh’ (how the fuck do you spell such gargantuan sounds) and just general guttural filthy nonsensical but oh so cool sounding shit, that I imagine John Tardy has nightmares about him. If he doesn’t, then he needs to stop rescuing cats and pay some bloody attention.
Musically, this is like letting a flock (possibly a herd) of Rhino’s have the keys to the Third Panzer Division just after happy hour. It bounces, it crushes, it digs it’s claws into your brain with crusty, grimy, putrescent effectiveness, and leaves you feeling like a chewed up, spat out Mintie afterwards. Elements of many things abound, both Death and Doom, unspeakable horror and unrelenting hopelessness, grinding bone into dust and pounding you the listener senseless song after song. The bass work delivered is breathtakingly heavy in every aspect. Take “The Drowning” for example. As much as I hate to disrespect an idol, I fear Jo Bench would even have her jaw on the ground after hearing the immensity of tone on offer here. Combine this with the rough and raw guitar sound, and for me you get a blend of early Celtic Frostishness, early Obituary, and just flat out golden crusty goodness. take “Ravenous Being” for example. Yes please, and thank you very much.
My personal fave on an album that almost defies the ability to let you choose one would have to be the title track, “Metastatic Declination” (duh). The Rhinoceri have finished with the tanks and are now bouncing up and down at some sort of trampoline themed establishment, you will see what I mean. Chugging springy riffery awaits the listener, and the drumming on display is just pure bliss, as it is in every fucking song to be completely fair. This is the kind of stuff that creates pits big enough to crack holes in the space time continuum, taking you both back in time, and forward into the future.
Closer, “Sickness“, is very well just that. Fully sick even if I may offer. More infernal belching, more hooks into the cranium to hold you in awe, and then suddenly it’s over and you are lying gasping for air like a Rhino that has been on an alcohol inspired bender and may have done some very silly things. Yes, I have been known to crap on endlessly when overly enthused by an album, but tell me if I’m wrong after spending an evening with this charmer. There, I have finished, you may go now and purchase this album, and my sincere apologies for taking up so much of your time, there was simply no other way to explain this release, well, not for this little black duck anyway..
Rating – AOTY 2019. Says it all really.