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:

Review of Morbid Saint at American University

Last Friday, the 31st of January 2014, was a good night for the area’s metal heads. Attila sold out Empire in Springfield and Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch played the Fillmore Silver Spring. However I decided to skip both of those shows for the rare chance to catch Morbid Saint play a DIY show on the campus of American University. So who the hell is Morbid Saint?

Well they were a thrash metal band from Wisconsin that in 1988 put out their only album, the underground classic Spectrum Of Death. They were a frequent opener on Death’s tours in those days but unfortunately broke up in the 90s. In 2010 they reformed and if you went to Maryland Deathfest X in 2012 then you got to see them play Spectrum Of Death from start to finish on one of the big outdoor stages there. That was a pretty great performance in the midst of many at MDF X but last Friday’s show at the Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University was something else altogether. There was no lighting rig, no barrier between the bands and fans, no big stage, hell there wasn’t even a stage. The room was small, packed, and hot and you couldn’t hope for a better DIY setting to see an old school thrash band in. Most of those old thrash bands from the 80s have either blown up like Slayer and Megadeth, disbanded after the rise of grunge, or regularly come through the area to places like Empire promoting whatever new album they may have. Those shows are all good but this show wasn’t like any of them and I knew it going in. Basically, I couldn’t let myself miss this show!

I showed up a bit late but apparently there had been an issue with the electrical box at the start of the night and everything got delayed. The show was sold out when I arrived but I had ordered tickets online ahead of time cause I knew it would. The room was basically a big oval with merch tucked into a small room on the side opposite the venue entrance. Normally it is used as an on campus religious center for any religious denomination that wants to use it but this night it would become a place to worship metal! When I got there the first band, Genocide Pact, was still playing. Genocide Pact features members of another local band, Disciples Of Christ, but isn’t quite as grindy as D.O.C. is and instead has more focus on the death metal sound. They were fun but since the room was already packed I didn’t get up front to see them. The next band up was Baltimore’s Noisem, formerly known as Necropsy. These guys are young but ever since getting signed to A389 Recordings they’ve really started to garner attention, and not just locally. They opened on a run of 22 shows for The Black Dahlia Murder and Skeletonwitch last fall and they’ll be the opening act on the entire upcoming Decibel tour with Carcass headlining. They’re definitely getting better in the live setting, that showed even when performing at a DIY show with no stage. Their high energy death/thrash really got the audience into the show and the pits got pretty intense a few times. Next up was another A389 band, the (mostly) DC based Ilsa. They play a crusty style of death/doom that is full of mosh friendly riffs and very heavy slower parts as well. It has been a little while since I’ve seen Ilsa live and in that time they’ve replaced one of their guitar players with a guy who used to play with several of them in a band called Time Of The Wolf that was a precursor to Ilsa’s formation. Their set was heavy but I do wish the band members would face the audience more. Most of the show they formed a circle facing inward at each other, aside from vocalist Orion who looked all around the room with his vice grip on the mic he was screaming into.

Finally it was time for Morbid Saint to play and after the delay and several sets you could tell the audience was getting a little restless. The audience wouldn’t settle for a bad performance from the headliner at this point and Morbid Saint delivered. The crowd erupted into a mosh pit from the first note played and frontman Pat Lind really kept the intensity up the entire show despite the heat that was becoming overwhelming. The band did not play Spectrum Of Death start to finish as they had at MDF but instead kept the set list pretty varied, they even played songs off their never officially released 1992 demo Destruction System and some other obscure material as well. They had a few extended pauses between songs because the drummer was overheating but they mostly played songs back to back to back. There were crowd surfers and people flying in and out of the mosh pit the entire set with the intensity reaching its apex when Morbid Saint played “Lock Up Your Children.” Maybe I’m just getting old but by the time it was over I was feeling pretty drained and headed straight to the water fountains. A big thanks goes out to Mariana and the AU Independent Arts Collective for making this show happen. I hope they put on more awesome metal shows in the future. Getting the chance to see one of the classic old thrash bands up close in a small, sweaty, sold out room was like stepping into a time machine back to the days of Heavy Metal Parking Lot and despite the other options that night, there’s nowhere else I’d have rather been.


Noisem at American University

Noisem at American University

Noisem at American University


Ilsa at American University

Ilsa at American University

Ilsa at American University

Morbid Saint:

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Metal Show Of The Week: Morbid Saint

Who? Morbid Saint
When? Friday, January 31st
Where? Kay Spiritual Life Center (map)
How much? $12 cash at the door (online sales already closed)

This Friday old school thrashers Morbid Saint are coming to DC and they’re playing a really tiny venue on the campus of American University. The band is from Wisconsin and while they used to open for Death on tours in the late 80s they only ever released one proper full length album, the 1988 cult classic Spectrum Of Death. They broke up in the early 90s (like many smaller thrash bands did after the rise of grunge) but recently they’ve reunited and starting playing shows again. They made their only area appearance since reforming at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest where they played Spectrum Of Death from start to finish. This show will be a much more intimate setting than the large outdoor stage at MDF and since time won’t be as much of an issue hopefully they’ll also play some songs from their 1992 demo Destruction System.

The show is at the Kay Spiritual Life Center which is basically a small non-denominational church/mosque/whatever-religion building on American University’s campus. Online ticket sales have already ended so you’ll want to be sure to get there early if you want to get in as this show will most likely sell out. Luckily the local opening support is pretty excellent! First will be Genocide Pact, a local death metal band featuring members of D.O.C. followed by Baltimore’s Noisem, a young death/thrash band that will be opening for Carcass on their upcoming US tour. Direct support will be from Ilsa, a DC based crusty death/doom that never disappoints live. You couldn’t ask for a better line up for just $12! This Friday night this show will be a mosh friendly, sweaty and intense night for all in attendance and it’s going to be awesome! If you’re unfamiliar with any of the bands on this bill be sure to check them out by streaming the songs below.