What connects these two releases is, more than anything, their desire for elegance in simplicity. Even though they sound far from similar, both the brutal slamming death metal album and the hardcore punk EP reviewed here try to downplay any form of real technical showmanship or complex songwriting in favor of crushing, straightforward heaviness and groove. After all, who needs a scalpel when you’ve got a chainsaw?

Kraanium – Chronicles of Perversion

Some bands are known for really changing up their style, going for a new sound on every record, or, at the very least, mixing around their musical humus to let previously unaired musical minerals see the light of day. Then there are the bands that just, well, don’t. Neither of these are surefire recipes for either success or failure in the metal scene: there are just as many bands that have thrived on finding a niche and filling as there are that have evolved to stay relevant and fresh.

Kraanium certainly finds themselves in the ‘filling a niche’ camp. These purveyors of brutal slamming death metal have carved out a comfortable space in their genre; they’re known for being about as straightforward in the slam as a band can be. They’re here to do one very specific thing, , and they’re here to do it well. This is just as true on their new record, Chronicles of Perversion, as it has been on their previous releases.

Their straightforwardness is certainly apparent on this album, and, in an odd way, it’s become their biggest strength. The slams hit hard and the gutteral vocals sound like they were dragged from the forsaken bowels of the earth, but what’s most noticeable on this LP is the production. It’s a huge step up from any of their previous releases: gone is the trashcan snare tone, replaced by something that maintains the raw sound without the forfeiture of clarity, and the bass drops don’t ever overpower the rest of the music. Their use of more refined production is a huge point in favor of Chronicles; it gives the album infinitely more appeal and listenability than their earlier records. All these small production odds and ends make Chronicles of Perversion the best Kraanium album to date, taking their formula and using the studio to really crank it up to 11.

Kraanium – Chronicles of Perversion gets…

4/5


Grim Vision – War Agony

Like its namesake, the track “War Machine” from this little EP grinds and blasts its way slowly through a sonic battlefield, chewing up everything in its path and spitting it back out with each lurch forward. Grim Vision certainly knows how to conjure up an image of strife and warfare in the 10 minutes that comprise War Agony, letting their aggression have free reign of the darkened, violent brand of hardcore they shell out.

Similar to the rumbling, churning nature of modern punk heavyweights Harms Way, every pummeling riff packed into this short release drags likes an enormous juggernaut on some sort of twisted, industrialized warpath. The drums pound away like artillery and the constant aural assault of the screeching, groaning guitars worm the crushing rhythms into the listener’s head with brutal ease.

Everything on this EP is a blast (no pun intended), and the only real complaint to be had here is that it’s just too damn short. Across three tracks, Grim Vision display a breathtaking level of anger, sure to knock the wind out of any audience, but there’s just not enough material here to satisfy anybody’s craving. Listening to this and getting the full experience requires setting it on repeat and pretending it’s new songs the second time around, and nobody deserves to have to do that.

Overall, the fact that the only complaint is that a listener is going to just want more of this same sound says a lot about the quality of the writing, and this is certainly strong in that department. With just a little more material packed into it, Grim Vision could release a whopper of an album. For now, though, this will have to do, even though it’s more a tempting taste of battle than a chance to actually slake any bloodthirst.

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Grim Vision – War Agony gets…

3.5/5

-SH

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