Death metal fanatics can get super pissy. This isn’t news. It’s an endless meme of a thread devolving into name-calling over the wrong genre prefix. It takes a sense of humor and humility to enjoy brutal death metal because of this. Whether it’s slam/brutal death/slamming brutal death doesn’t matter. If it kicks up a room full of degenerates into a feeding frenzy then it’s just brutal, full stop. The new Acranius record is brutal. Reign Of Terror finally fills in the dirty cracks of previous releases, dipping and leaning towards territory sure to kick up a shitpost or two.
2014’s Dishonor made enough of a stir for the Internet’s finest to get on board the ship, but was guilty of being just a bit thin on top. Too much of a reliance on very specific structures made proceedings slightly stagnant after a few. And with that topic sentence fucked firmly out of the way, here’s the big play—Acranius have created a perfectly flowing death metal album, still using the brutish tactics of a band who aim to kill first and kill again later.
Fitting into thirty, bellowing minutes of incredibly modern death metal are individual tracks that smash seamlessly in and out of another. Like car after car hurtling toward each other and meeting a fiery, twisted-metal end—in a video game where the drivers are all slam-attired, grill-wearing super villains. It’s fairly outlandish and to use a term normally reserved for behind closed doors —wiggnorant; gluttonous in two steps and hand movements. But it’s great. It hits every note and nuance that brutal death offers and that won’t offer enough for those looking for the next big thing. They’re idiots anyway. Look elsewhere.
The movement from more hardcore-leaning beatdowns and riffs into a more rigid death metal groove reaps dividends. This reeks of a change in the approach to writing new music and it smells absolutely filthy. Favouring the production style of modern slammers like Vulvodynia and Wormhole, Acranius get the staccato chugs and shrill picking blasts sharp as the ends of the claw hammers wielded ritualistically worldwide in the band’s honour. The riffs might have an odour of early days Cannibal Corpse or Suffocation but they rarely wriggle into territory technical enough to mention. This clarity within the carnage makes the rhythm section behind the rhythm section (Acranius’ guitarists are both solid rhythm players) pop and snap when they get a chance to scythe through the miasma (the break in “Warpath” should freeze a whirlpool pit in an instant).
Reign Of Terror is the album of the month for fans of music to really bang your head to. That’s not to say Acranius will be holding up album of the year awards from anywhere beyond the niche where they exist. Not that they mean fuck all to a band who’s sole prerogative is to write music to facilitate violence in an enclosed space. It’s easy stuff to throw hate at for those who care to frequent the types of social media groups that metal elitists tend to belong to, but that makes it so much more entertaining. January offers up a salacious offering of streamlined death metal for basement dwellers to argue about prefixes and genre tags. Idiots. Just bang your head.