Deathcore is a fickle sub-genre, and one that often proves to be fairly divisive amongst metal fans. This being said, if 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that this particular musical disposition always has the potential to become the incarnation of something very special; Fit For An Autopsy, Lorna Shore, and Shadow Of Intent immediately come to mind, having all unhanded fantastic records this year. Unfortunately, the other side of the coin is a rather less enchanting story, with the flaccid, bare-bones elements of the genre all-too-often rearing its ugly head, and serving to procure what seems like unending reams of generic, uninspired product.
Brisbane-based quintet A Night In Texas have always found themselves somewhere in between these two opposing poles, being proponents of what would simply be a series of merciless blast-beats and breakdowns if it weren’t for the welcomed addition of sporadic lead-guitar magic and a handful of impressive drum patterns. Being in the midst of a pre-release campaign for a second full-length attempt, Global Slaughter, the time is nigh for this outfit to prove themselves. Let’s take a closer look and find out if they’ve succeeded in doing this.
I’m very much a proponent of the ‘first impressions’ approach when it comes to reviewing albums, particularly if the band in question has a point to prove with the release. In this regard, Global Slaughter gets at least a few brownie points, commencing with a far more patient and progressive offering than what I’ve come to expect from them. Whilst certainly not without its flaws, opening (and title) track “Global Slaughter” does in fact bear a series of characteristics that, would they were present throughout the record, serve to contribute to a much more mature and well-rounded effort. Don’t get me wrong, this five-minute inauguration is still guilty of serving up blast beats, radical tempo-altering breakdowns, and a torrent of traditionally high-pitched screams. However, with the length of the song and the added pinch of patience in the structuring, there’s room enough for some added nuances in between this, and a more complete feel as a result. Shimmering examples of this include some slightly more atmospheric, Fallujah-esque sections consisting of spacey, dissonant chord progressions, in addition to a guitar solo that, while lacking in tonal impact and punch, adds to the overall technicality and gives the listener a break from the slightly more common and predictable elements that are still very much a central theme.
Even though Global Slaughter is able to pass the first test in terms of its initial impression, what follows is slightly more underwhelming. Songs such as “War Born” and “Mors Ludicrum” are able to offer little more than the predictable deathcore formula. The remainder of this record consists predominantly of the usual suspects, offering a series of short, unvaried songs that fall into the trap of embodying overly aggressive and impatient deathcore. While a little over-polished, the production is crisp and heavy. Unfortunately, this principle seems to evade the lead guitar tone, leaving it limp, lifeless, and way too quiet. This is a shame considering that the leads constitute what is easily the most prominent display of musicianship on this record.
Generally, the positive elements on display are not all that dissimilar from what we saw on the title track, and for that matter, what we’ve seen from A Night In Texas in the past. Amidst the incessant displays of typical deathcore-esque brutality, a few select moments of brief magic still prevail – namely the sporadically interesting leads and a few marginally interesting drum sections. However, once again, these moments are few and far between, and don’t really come close to redeeming the surrounding material. Worth mentioning also is a welcomed appearance from Shadow Of Intent‘s very own Ben Duerr on the seventh track, “Harvested”, which certainly sparks some excitement, but overall adds little merit to the bigger picture.
To be a little more diplomatic, these are the views of someone whose tastes lie mainly within progressive music. If I were to cast my mind back to the age of fifteen (when Suicide Silence and Carnifex were the be-all and end-all of music), then I’d be able to recognize that Global Slaughter actually has a lot of potential to appeal to someone of this certain disposition. Essentially what I’m saying is that if you like deathcore, then you will definitely enjoy this record. It’d be unfair to even vaguely suggest that it isn’t brutally heavy, aggressive, and utterly cathartic. In summary, what A Night In Texas have once again been able to achieve is something that serves a specific purpose. What’s unfortunate is that they haven’t been able to do much more than simply this.
Notable Tracks: “Global Slaughter”; “Death March”
FFO: Thy Art Is Murder, Aversions Crown, Oceano