Review of Order Of Torment by Genocide Pact

Band: Genocide Pact
Album: Order of Torment
Release Date: 2 February 2018
Record Label: Relapse Records
Buy on CD ($13) or vinyl ($19) or digital ($10) from: Bandcamp

Cover of Order of Torment by Genocide Pact

Washington DC’s own Genocide Pact has recently released a death metal album that has gotten them quite a lot of buzz. I asked DCHM contributor Vivek Rangarajan to write a review about it and let us know if the band is worth all the hype. After you read his review below be sure to stream the album at the end of this post to find out for yourself!

It made my day when I first heard the news that Genocide Pact was recording a new album as I had been anticipating new material from them for a while now. In the past year, they’ve been on the same bills with Nails, Gatecreeper, Power Trip, and Angelcorpse, just to name a few. They were also the first metal band to play at Atlas Brew Works, during the DCHM 2016 holiday party. Genocide Pact are slowly but steadily becoming one of the best new-school bands in death metal. Their first album, Forged Through Domination, the amount of shows played and tours they have been on have all contributed to this. Their Relapse Records debut, Order of Torment, is a showcase of vile and crushing death metal from start to finish. Before I get into that, I’d like to first discuss who Genocide Pact are.

Genocide Pact are made up of members from local grindcore, crossover thrash, and hardcore bands. Tim Mullaney and Michael Nolan are from the grindcore band Disciples of Christ, or D.O.C., Connor Donegan is from the crossover thrash band Red Death as well as a handful of D.C. hardcore bands. Genocide Pact have recently added a new guitarist, Demir Soyer of Narrow Grave and Perpetuated, however he did not join Genocide Pact until after Order of Torment was already recorded by the other three members. On Order of Torment, Michael Nolan handles the bass, Tim Mullaney does all of the guitars and vocals, and Connor Donegan keeps everything in check on the drums.

“Conquered and Disposed” is the first track on Order of Torment and it showcases the heavy, doom-influenced death metal that is becoming Genocide Pact’s trademark. The opening track does not play around and its intro hits the ground running. It begins with an ambient opening and then punches the listener with a fierce intro riff. There’s an Incantation influence that is evident in the songwriting throughout the album but it is prevalent on on this track. Tim’s guitar-work and vocal performance are great on this song. I love how deep and visceral his death-growl is. The vocals provide a hefty layer which enhances the instrumentation. The riffs throughout this song have a chainsaw-like sound to them. The whole song has a tempo variation between very slow to fast. The tempo variations all have seamless transitions between each other, thanks to Connor Donegan’s drum work. This makes each section of the song stand out from one another.

The second track, “Decimation Grid,” begins with an unnerving and atmospheric riff. I like how this intro riff helps establish how the song will conduct itself. The use of a pick-slide in the intro riff helps make it sound more evil. The song picks up its speed after the first verse, and uses the atmosphere developed to keep the song heavy. What stands out in this song is how Genocide Pact keeps the atmosphere intact while varying the tempos. It’s diverse and interesting.

The third track, “Spawn of Suffering” is one of my favorite songs off Order of Torment. “Spawn of Suffering” is faster than the first two tracks, but the atmosphere established by the first two tracks is not lost. Genocide Pact use a slow intro and transition into a faster and blasting track. This song has some interesting tempo changes between the faster sections. It has a slight change between the blast beats and regular drum pattern that produces a cool contrast. It keeps each part engaging and makes each pattern fresh. The track ends with a mid-paced plug and chug riff. It’s a simple and chromatic riff. This riff feels like a nice ribbon to wrap up the song.

The fourth track, “Pain Reprisal,” is my favorite track off Order of Torment. The Incantation-influenced songwriting is obvious on this track and I love it. The song starts with a mid-paced and filthy riff and keeps it going until the middle of the song. Nolan’s bass work is thick and holds everything together on this track. I love how demolishing Tim Mullaney’s riff is in the opening. It’s a riff I can just head-bang to endlessly. Tim’s vocal performance on “Pain Reprisal” is fantastic. The vocals become very low and growling in comparison to the other songs on the album. There is a John McEntee kind of sound found in Tim’s vocals on “Pain Reprisal.” It is a menacing element that Tim Mullaney incorporates into his vocals on the song and they remind me of a demon haunting someone. The song gets slower as the track progresses, however around three minutes and ten seconds, the track shifts to a blasting frenzy. I love how fast this transition is too. Both Tim and Connor Donegan make this transition perfect. The use of cymbal chokes, blast beats, and double bass by Donegan as well as Tim’s use of palm-muted tremolo picking and faster riffs help the punch of this transition. This transition hits like a freight-train and is an awesome way of changing things up while keeping the listener’s attention. This part lasts for about 30 seconds before changing into a sinister guitar solo to close out the track. This solo is great way to conclude the song because of how it begins as a slower and malevolent solo before it shreds into oblivion while the track fades out.

The fifth track, “Ascendency Absolved,” continues what the first four tracks have already created. However, on this track there are a lot more guitar leads. The leads played are great and they are very doom influenced which makes the track more enjoyable. It is also a nice way of adding a small change without sacrificing any of the heaviness. Towards the end of the song, Tim Mullaney stops playing and just focuses on the guitar’s feedback while Michael Nolan and Connor Donegan keep a steady pace going. This ends with a piercing guitar shriek, it’s an unexpected shriek and I love it. It’s subtle and creeps up on you. Once it happens, the guitar shriek rips right through the listener and is constant throughout the rest of the song.

The sixth track, “Structural Dissolution,” is the fastest song on Order of Torment. The use of a fast intro, and combining it with mid-paced to fast riffs make this a demolishing track. The use of the double bass drums is also great. It enhances the riffs and gives them a stronger punch. They help make the buzzsaw riffage a lot heavier. There’s even a small trill that gets played which fits perfectly in the song. I can just aimlessly head-bang to this song anytime it comes on.

“Authoritarian Impulse” continues the sound developed in Order of Torment while having a doomy solo. It’s a solid track, however this track does what already has been presented on Order of Torment. The final track “Blood Rejection,” is a nice closer to the album. The track continues the atmospheres developed on all of the previous tracks and concludes the album on a chilling note. The conclusion is an evil mid-paced riff that includes a pick slide and pinch harmonic which continues until the album fades out. It’s a haunting ending and an effective way to wrap up the album.

No album is perfect and Order of Torment is not an exception. One fault that I had with this album was how it became too slow at times. There were several instances that droned on too long. When this would happen, the tracks would make me lose interest in them. Some people might consider the significantly slower parts as crushing, however, those parts are simply too slow to have a stronger impact. While I do enjoy the contrast between the slower and faster parts, the slower sections that go on too long begin to drone and bring down the songs. Another criticism I have would be with the lyrics of the album. While the lyrics are not bad themselves, the topics they cover could be more developed. It would give their messages a stronger impact on the listener. These faults don’t detract too much from Order of Torment.

Genocide Pact take their identity created on Forged Through Domination, their first album, and continue it on Order of Torment while keeping it fresh. This album is a great stepping stone for them, and hopefully will launch them into a bigger spotlight. Order of Torment proves Genocide Pact is one of DC’s premiere metal bands.

Pain Reprisal:

Metal show at Oliver Brewing in Baltimore

Black Lung at Oliver Brewing

This Friday, March 16th of 2018, the Oliver Brewing Company in Baltimore is hosting their first “real” metal show when Black Lung, Sierra and Caustic Casanova perform there. Oliver has had some bands play there before but they’ve usually been matinee shows tied in to beer releases. This will be their first night time metal show. The show was put together with help from the guys that run the Maryland Doom Fest so as you’d expect the bands are along the lines of doom and stoner. Oliver is a good place for this because the head brewer at Oliver is quite the metal head. Oliver makes a line of special release IPAs that are tie ins with various stoner and doom bands that he loves. They also make an officially licensed beer for The Sword and will be releasing a beer for Integrity at the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest later this month in Philadelphia. There have been some awesome shows coming to Atlas Brew Works in Washington DC lately and I’m hoping that Oliver can become something similar in Baltimore. Time will tell but hopefully a lot of people come out and support this first gig to show that this kind of thing can work in Baltimore too! You can get more info in the show’s Facebook event page here. Now a little about the bands…

Black Lung is a local Baltimore based band and they play a psychedelic style of rock that is drenched in distortion.

Sierra is a band from Kitchener in Ontario, Canada (a little west of Toronto). They play some moody stoner rock/metal and this is a rare chance to catch them down in our area.

Caustic Casanova is from Washington DC and plays some really catchy stoner jams and they’re the perfect opener for this show.

Review of Inconnu by Thonian Horde

Band: Thonian Horde
Album: Inconnu
Release Date: 9 September 2017
Record Label: Grimoire Records
Buy on CD ($7) or as digital files ($5) from: Bandcamp

Cover of Inconnu by Thonian Horde

With this post we’re debuting a new album reviewer on DCHM. Please welcome Vivek Rangarajan and read his first post for us, a very in depth review of a black metal album released by a band of guys from local doom metal bands. Be sure to stream a few tracks at the end of the post as well!

This is my first review on DCHM and I was given the pleasure of reviewing Thonian Horde’s Inconnu. This album was a blast to listen to from start to finish, but before I talk about Inconnu, let’s learn who Thonian Horde are.

Thonian Horde is a local band which features former and current members of Weed is Weed, Pale Divine, and Faith in Jane. Most of these bands are based in Frederick, Maryland, and each member is active in the Maryland Doom Metal community, which is a surprise since they are a black metal band. In 2016, the band released a self-titled debut album and in 2017, they released their second album, Inconnu. Upon first listen, one might expect it to be a black metal album with some touches of Maryland doom. However, this is not the case! In fact, Inconnu is a very eclectic blend of black, death, and thrash metal with some traditional hard rock. Thonian Horde’s Inconnu is an album that showcases the strengths of extreme metal while blending it with good-old fashioned rock and roll.

The opening track “Stygian Rhyme” sets the tone for the album and wastes no time doing it as well. Bassist and vocalist, FeZZy, uses cleaner than normal black metal vocals to put his own twist on the typical black metal shrieking vocal style. I love it. This heightens the vocal performance because it shows his identity. The guitarists Dirty and D-Mize provide a well-rounded attack, in that, both guitarists lay down the riffs in a cohesive manner. Dirty holds down the song on rhythm while D-Mize shreds for the lead sections.

While the album is rooted in black metal, Thonian Horde incorporate more styles of metal and rock as the album progresses. As soon as the second track, “Angels, Devils, and the Serpent Grey,” begins, we see Thonian Horde incorporate a traditional rock-groove. While this can be shaky, Dirty and D-Mize do an excellent job balancing the rock groove with abrasive black metal riffage. Dirty does a good amount of lead work in this song and his leads show off the rock influence. D-Mize keeps the black metal rhythms going and keeps the song cohesive. The drum work done by Tyler “The Beast” Lee shows off a balance between black metal and rock. There is a mix of black metal blasting while keeping a rock-groove. It makes the song hard-hitting and groovy. This turns “Angels, Devils, and the Serpent Grey” into a black ‘n roll song at the end. It’s a great one as well. The third song, “Three III 3,” is a more straightforward black metal song. It contains a lot of the gloomy atmosphere that is common in black metal. D-Mize and Dirty put their own spin on this by incorporating a semi-melodic lead that corresponds with the main riff.

The fourth track, “Atrocious,” continues what “Angels, Devils, and the Serpent Grey,” began. It begins with mid-paced bass line which transitions into the main riff of the song. It keeps the black n’ roll ball going as the bass line sets the rock-groove for the guitars to add on to. One thing I’d like to note on this song is how the bass guitar is easy to hear throughout the song. I love it when a song actually lets the listener hear the bass. It is unusual for the bass to be easily heard in a black metal song. Hearing the bass adds another layer to the song which strengthens it for me.

The fifth track, “Helltrain,” is my favorite track off the album. Thonian Horde show off their songwriting abilities with this track. This song combines black metal and hard-rock grooves with some speedy thrash metal. The song begins with a straight up hard rock bass-line, then D-Mize brings some dissonant feedback from his guitar. The song transitions into an excellent black n’ roll riff that Dirty holds down, while D-Mize is doing some spastic and bizarre leads. The Beast’s drumming is at its peak on this song, he keeps the grooves going while everyone is doing their own parts. Around the halfway mark, the song becomes a blasting black metal track. I love how The Beast’s drumming hits the listener like a sledgehammer with this transition. The transition is very subtle, which makes the transition’s punch even harder. Once the blasting ends, the vocal attack by FeZZy howls a powerful scream which shifts the entire song into a thrashing frenzy. The drumming in this part of the song by The Beast uses a slam-dancing beat that’s common in thrash. The use of the thrash beat packs a punch and gives a fast circle-pit beat to enhance the guitarists riffs. D-Mize and Dirty go nuts once the thrash beat kicks in. I love the amount of energy their riffs produce during this part of the song. They also include a headbangin’ breakdown that is common in thrash metal. I don’t usually care for breakdowns in all honesty, but Thonian Horde’s use of a thrash breakdown in the track is great. To end the song Dirty goes nuts in his solo and D-Mize even joins in on the insane fun. The guitarists keep the riffs thrashy, yet the atmosphere and attitude of black metal is still present. The song transitions from a black n’ roll song to a traditional black metal song and finally to a blackened thrash song, and I love it. I can see a vicious circle pit breaking out whenever they play this song live.

The sixth track, “The Eleventh Dream,” is an atmospheric instrumental track. The song has a melancholic bassline that repeats throughout the song. On top of that it contains a lot of eerie sounds that evoke a feeling of misery. It’s a track that is nothing but suffering and dread and it feels as if someone has died and we are seeing what life is without this person. “The Eleventh Dream” is a great cool down to all of the madness going on for the first five tracks.

The second half of the album continues the black n’ roll while adding elements of extreme metal. The tracks that do this great in the second half of the album would be the title track, “Inconnu” and “Organized Oppression.” “Inconnu” is more rock influenced than anything else, however, there are sections that are traditional black metal. One thing of note during this track is there is a good amount of melody in the song. I like their use of a melodic section in this song because it makes the more straightforward parts sound more abrasive by contrast.
“Organized Oppression” is a more straightforward black metal song. There is a slight melody throughout each riff which adds another layer to all of the blasting going on behind the drum kit. The song eventually becomes a blackened thrash song with some melodic elements to it. The song concludes after an energetic guitar solo by Dirty.

This is not a perfect album and there are some faults to be found. The vocals could use less reverb on them. They make the vocals seem artificial and the lyrics lose their meaning because of it. In addition to this, the last track, “Iris Effect,” does not have as much variation as the other songs have. It uses a simple riff to carry the album to the end, and the song is very mid-paced throughout which makes it hard not to lose interest. It begins to drone. Inconnu has a few problems, however, they do not detract anything from the overall experience.

Overall, this album is a fantastic local release. Thonian Horde show off how diverse their songwriting ability is. The incorporation of hard-rock grooves and melodies, combining that with black metal and other forms of extreme metal, make this one of the more varied albums I have heard in a very long time. If there is any album that I regret not putting on my favorites of 2017 it is definitely this album. Inconnu shows that there is a lot more to the Maryland scene than just doom metal or grindcore. If Thonian Horde can follow this map they have created for themselves, then I think they can make a big splash at the national level. Who knows, they could be a part of a great tour package. For right now though, their future is bright.

Helltrain:

Angels, Devils, and the Serpent Grey:

Review of Slash ‘Em All by Omnislash

Band: Omnislash
Album: Slash ‘Em All!
Release Date: 9 June 2017
Buy as mp3s ($8.91) from: Amazon
Buy on CD ($10) from: Bandcamp

Cover of Slash 'Em All! by Omnislash

DCHM writer Tal is back with this in depth review of Baltimore based traditional/thrash metal band Omnislash’s sophomore album. Be sure to check out the video game inspired music video at the end of the post when you’re done reading.

We’re pretty spoiled in the DC area with a good number of local bands that sound like pros, and yet somehow I’m always surprised when I find another one. Omnislash is one of those bands. I had heard of them for possibly years, but had never been in the right place at the right time to actually see them live. Their recent album Slash ‘Em All! convinced me that I need to change that ASAP.

If Iron Maiden was a little faster and thrashier, that might describe Omnislash’s sound. They’re melodic like Iron Maiden, with mostly cleanish vocals, anthemic choruses and an upbeat vibe, but given to blistering thrash rampages. They at once claim to combine “the best elements of glam, thrash, power metal, death metal, hair metal, and classic rock” and to represent traditional heavy metal from “a time before the metal scene became fragmented.” I suppose if we hearken far enough back into the 80’s, it might be possible to do both at once. Certainly, Omnislash seems to combine all those diverging genres into one cohesive whole – thrash outbursts flow into expansive choruses, the vocals go from gritty to near operatic, and heavy riffs give way to melodic bridges or speedy solos, in such an organic way that nothing sounds out of place.

After an acoustic/neoclassical intro, the album starts off with rocking riffs with just a little thrash dirtiness, and a vicious scream from vocalist Jeremy Phoenix. True metal, all right. The first song, “Empires Fade,” is exemplary of the album – at once melodic, groovy and touched with thrash grittiness, and impossible to sit still for. The vocal style, clean yet forceful and sometimes rising into a scream, is reminiscent of harder power metal bands like Iced Earth. In another parallel to Iced Earth, there seems to be a historical theme to the song, which I first noticed with the line “Rome controls the Nile.” In an interview in Shockwave Magazine, Jeremy indicated that the song is about “that moment in time when it could have been the Egyptian Empire but it became the Roman Empire.” The wailed, “Run for your life” in the chorus can’t help evoking Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills,” as well.

There are several catchy songs you’ll be rocking out to in your mind long after the album’s done playing, but the catchiest has to be the title track (and band theme song?), “Metalliation Revengeance (Slash ‘Em All).” With the racing, driving rhythm and insistent, somehow danceable lead guitar, you won’t be able to help starting a toxic waltz wherever you are. Then it goes into a horn-throwing, sing-along chorus and bridge, complete with “woah’s” for the full metal experience. But don’t take my word for it; check out their hilarious video at the end of this post. I can just imagine this as the climactic closing song of their live show.

This is just the middle of the album, however, so the songs keep on coming. The most aggressive songs are in the second half: “Nuke the Moon” and “Not One Step Back,” the former about Project A119, a US Air Force project from the 1950’s that planned to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon, and the latter about the Battle of Stalingrad. There’s also a ballad of sorts, “Gothenburg,” if a song with pummeling thrash percussion and machine-gun guitars can be called a ballad just because it has more drawn-out and emotional vocals. “Blood Feud” is a song with furious aggressive verses and a catchy chorus that oddly reaches its anthemic height at the end of the chorus. Since I just finished reading Hillbilly Elegy, I can’t help wondering if the song has anything to do with Appalachia, since that book’s author, J.D. Vance, had some not-so-distant ancestors that took part in some pretty violent blood feuds in that area.

The band’s lyrical themes are another parallel to Iron Maiden, with a more historical bent than most thrash metal, although they still focus on typical thrash themes of war and violence.

One downside to the album, which might have been out of the band’s control, is that the production quality isn’t as good as I’ve become used to for some of our local bands. Some might argue that this is part of the band’s 80’s thrash vibe, but for me, it’s a detriment to the album. For instance, the furious beginning to “Nuke the Moon” sounds like a mess. It would be much more effective at showcasing the band’s technical virtuosity – not to mention more enjoyable as a thrash barrage – if I could hear everything going on. The rest of the album isn’t that bad, but it’s still poor enough that this is one of the rare cases where a pair of good headphones doesn’t help, and actually takes away from enjoyment of the album, since the sound quality issue becomes so distracting.

Sound quality aside, Slash ‘Em All! is a great album, putting Omnislash among the ranks of stellar local bands in the DC area.

Local metal head Danica Roem wins election!

We here at DCHeavyMetal.com are very proud of local metal head Danica Roem! Yesterday she was successfully elected to Virginia’s House Of Delegates to represent the state’s 13th district, which covers Manassas Park City and parts of Prince William County. Her historic win has garnered her headlines across the nation and world. While I’m totally psyched to see the first person from our area’s metal scene elected to office, the reason this grabbed headlines is the fact that Danica is transgender, and now the first ever transgender person elected to office in Virginia. I stopped by her victory party last night to join in the celebration (and make sure our area’s metal heads were representing!) and snapped the photo above. Danica gave a moving victory speech (embedded below) to the packed room and even gave a shout out to metal heads at the beginning! Though she ran on fixing traffic on Route 28 and paying teachers more, her win was important to many outside of her district as well.

It’s really awesome to see one of us making headlines and causing change in such a positive way. Arch Enemy frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz even made an Instagram post (here) about how she used to crash on Danica’s couch back in the day when she played Jaxx/Empire. Be sure to check out the party thrash band Danica fronts, Cab Ride Home, by streaming their 2017 album Crash The Gate below.

A Sound Of Thunder’s cover of Catalan national anthem

Today Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain. The streets of Barcelona were filled with people celebrating despite the central Spanish government calling secession illegal. I figured this would be as good of a time as ever to remind people to check out local band A Sound Of Thunder‘s heavy metal cover of the Catalan national anthem, “Els Segadors.” The band posted the song to YouTube earlier this month and it quickly gained the attention of Catalan separatists. The song went viral in Catalan and already has over one million streams on YouTube. The band has garnered a fan base in Catalonia now and will be touring there in early December. A Sound Of Thunder recorded the song as an homage to their vocalist Nina Osegueda’s mother, who is Catalonian. Current events lead them to post it online ahead of their next album’s release. Be sure to check out the song below if you haven’t yet, it’s sung in both English and Catalan, and check out their Kickstarter campaign (here) if you’d like to support them.

Uhtcearu bringing black metal to Atlas Brew Works

Uhtcearu at Atlas Brew Works

Shameless plug here guys but I wanted to make sure you all knew about the black metal band, Uhtcearu, who are coming to Atlas Brew Works this Tuesday, August 15th! The show is presented by DC Heavy Metal and the entire tour is being sponsored by Atlas with local support coming from the bands Dagger Moon and Helgamite. More details on the Facebook event page here. It’s all ages and $10 gets you in to see three awesome metal bands. Sick tunes and great beers add up to an awesome time so be sure to come out! Now here’s some more info on the bands…

Uhtcearu (pronounced oot-key-are-oo) is a black metal band from Wisconsin and they’ve just released their second album, For Darkness to Subside, on July 28th. Give a listen to my favorite track off the new album below, titled “May Spirits Guide Us Through,” and/or pick up the album for $5 on Bandcamp here.

Dagger Moon is a DC based band that features a couple members of Ilsa. Don’t get them confused though, the band doesn’t sound like the crusty death/doom Ilsa is known for. Instead they’ve replaced the death metal aspects with some John Carpenter-esque synth work to create a unique take on atmospheric doom metal unlike any other metal band I’ve ever heard. Check out their track “Wolfpack” below from their 2016 album Citadel, and you can name your price (including free) to download the album from Bandcamp here.

Helgamite is a doom/sludge band from Luray, Virginia, and they play a psychedelic style of doom/sludge that really goes a lot of places other bands don’t dare to. They’re masters of tense build up though they can also crank out some sick riffs too. Check out their song “Snowdrifter” below, it’s a long one but by the end you’ll feel like you’ve been on an epic voyage through the land of trippy metal. You can also get their latest album, Hypnagogia for $8 on Bandcamp here.