Genocide Pact return with 40 minutes of thick and crushing modern death metal on their highly anticipated sophomore offering, Order of Torment.
The Washington, DC-based trio was last heard on their raging, 2015 debut, Forged Through Domination. This blistering, seven-track release featured roughly a half-hour of crunchy, metallic tones, bludgeoning grooves and an aura of seething hatred that aided the band in becoming an act to watch. Although the sound didn’t distance itself from the new modern death metal trend of modernizing the crusty, buzzsaw death metal style of bands like Bolt Thrower and Incantation before them, it deserves praise for feeling authentically pissed without coming across as trite.
Order of Torment plummets listeners back into this realm of seismic, city-leveling death metal that made its predecessor such a formidable force. But upon their reentry, some listeners might find that something appears to be missing.
The record opens with the devastating “Conquered and Disposed”, showcasing Genocide Pact at their best. The song storms out of the gate with high octane menace and a looming, leviathanic presence. The track, and the record as a whole, sounds absolutely massive and could put a lot of their contemporaries to shame just based on production. The guitars unleash a plethora of buzzsaw grooves and galloping, grimy riffs that lock horns with the percussion to ensure total decimation. The vocals cast a malicious shadow over everything with cavernous growling. Everything fans like about Genocide Pact is upfront and on display in this opening cut.
Tracks like “Decimation Grid” and “Structural Dissolution” represent another method of attack employed by the band on this record. Tracks such as these weave in-and-out between blitzes of tremolo-picked destruction and lurching, chugging marches throughout their duration. The instrumentation will pummel the listener until they are properly battered with their sludgy weight, and then finish them off with shredding death metal fury. These particular cuts know exactly when to switch things up to keep the momentum and blood flowing smoothly.
This back-and-forth interplay between the band’s faster and slower moments is consistently utilized throughout the record, which is not unheard of in this brand of death metal. But it unfortunately is a weak point for Genocide Pact as the songs become less and less memorable as the record progresses. What made Forged Through Domination exciting was not so much its speed as it was its unpredictability. About half of Order of Torment sounds like the band is on autopilot, churning out similar riffs and song structures. Listeners will eventually be able to predict when the next palm-muted, sludgy riff or tremolo-picked bit will appear as they continue to listen.
Though there are occasional moments that break up the monotony, such as the angularity of “Blood Rejection” of the noise-ridden climax of “Ascendancy Absolved”, nearly half of the record can become tedious at times due to its repetitive nature. The fact that most of the tracks are five minutes in length can prove even more daunting when the band choose to ride out a rather one-dimensional riff.
None of this, however, takes away at how heavy and gigantic this record sounds. Order of Torment has its fair share of redeeming qualities, and when the record works it works amazingly well. But, overall, it is not nearly as fun as its predecessor and doesn’t do much for this newer trend in death metal. The wheel doesn’t necessarily have to be reinvented at all, but a little variation can go a long way.
Release Date: February 2, 2018
Label: Relapse Records
Favorite Tracks: “Conquered and Disposed”, “Decimation Grid”, “Structural Dissolution” and “Blood Rejection”
For Fans Of: Gatecreeper, Bolt Thrower, Incantation and Ilsa