Something viciously nasty this way comes! Charlotte, NC’s Violent Life, Violent Death play ‘Core with a capital ‘C, with an extra C for ‘crust’ and a ‘G’ for grind. Their Come, Heavy Breath EP adds another necessary comma keystroke to any review one would write for this band, and it is also their second overall release. Come, Heavy Breath is due out on June 29, 2018.
The words ‘grindcore’ and ‘EP’ in the same review might tempt some readers to dismiss Come, Heavy Breath as being short on content given the short songs that permeate the genre. Fear not. Violent Life, Violent Death’s songs range from 2 to 6 minutes in duration and with 6 songs on this EP, it clocks in at 23 minutes, making it a legitimate EP with legitimate substance backing it up. They open with a 4-minute title track that has ‘open this pit up now!’ written all over it.
That song has a grindcore feel, but a more traditional thrash metal/death metal tempo. It highlights the mish-mash of styles that make up this band’s sound and make this EP so interesting to hear.
Guitarists Joseph Benham and Joey Park and bassist Justin Campbell dress up Come, Heavy Breath with hardcore riffs, played with metallic precision and metal riffs that they play with hardcore aggression. These elements do not alternate within songs but dominate one song or another. This might mean a conflict of influences between the three stringed instrumentalists. This is not a criticism. Violent Life, Violent Death is a young band (their Facebook ‘About’ page says they were formed in April 2016) and bands at this stage tend to be all over the place, stylistically speaking. In the meantime, this quality makes repeated, close listening to their EP a fun challenge in picking out their elements and their influences. At any rate, the songs have consistency between them, thanks in no small part to David Holquin’s ruthless drumming style (which is definitely on the ‘metal’ side of things) and Scott Cowan’s foul shrieking vocals.
Things get most interesting in the EP’s finale, the six minute epic “Narcissist.” Here, the aforementioned different riffing styles do share space in the same song. Violent Life, Violent Death go through a number of tempo changes and load on some guitar noise at various times. The bass playing in the slower parts adds a pulsing drive and musical tension. Some spoken-word vocals run through monstrous effects at various times to add an otherworldly effect (think Voïvod). It is like listening to Neurosis on methamphetamine, but it is original enough to make us hope Violent Life, Violent Death will continue in this musical direction when they do get around to releasing a full-length album some day.
Notable Tracks: “Come, Heavy Breath”; “Narcissist”
FFO: Pig Destroyer, Neurosis, Wormrot, Brutal Truth