REVIEW: Virulent Depravity – “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree”

Just a few short days ago, Virulent Depravity dropped their début full length album, Fruit of the Poisoned Tree. It was released last weekend under the Artisan Era banner.

Spanning ten loaded tracks and clocking in at fifty-two minutes, Virulent Depravity come out of the gate in splendid fashion with a release that is both lofty by today’s standards, and unrelenting in demonstrating its technical muscle.

This Tennessee-based tech-death supergroup brings the heat with members of Svart Crown, Inferi, A Loathing Requiem, and Entheos. Songwriting duties are handled by guitarist, vocalist and bassist Colin Butler. He is joined on guitar by Malcolm Pugh and Kevin Paradis on drums. In each finely-honed track, this arrangement showcases some outstanding death metal of the shred-happy, super-tight variety we’ve come to know and love in the era of digital production. Forget the filler. Forget the sci-fi horror sound clips. Virulent Depravity forego such clichés and deliver onslaught after onslaught of absolutely stunning, blisteringly fast technical death metal that only ever lets up for the occasional spacey or jazzy passage.

Despite some fantastically virtuosic performances and an impactful delivery, though, this powerhouse of a début does suffer from a lack of uniqueness. At times, it feels almost too clean and seemingly sterile in sound (for real, the guitar harmonies are squeaky clean). There’s also not a lot of ground broken in the composition department, and many of the tracks will feel a bit samey. However minor my grievances, technical death metal is a scene quickly filling up with some tremendous young talents, many of them utilizing the same tried and true formulas, and distinction can be hard to come by.

Virulent Depravity prove with this release that they are indeed worthy of the ‘supergroup’ moniker; the veteran skills of Butler, Pugh, and Paradis culminate in an absolutely devastating full-length. Fruit of the Poisoned Tree stands tall as a technically brilliant demonstration of what this genre is capable of. I’m excited to see where this outfit goes from here!

Score: 8/10

Notable tracks: ‘Desecrating Eden’; ‘Only Human’; ‘Mechanized Defilement’

FFO: Necrophagist, Gorod, Beneath the Massacre

Follow Virulent Depravity on Facebook and visit their website. You can (aka: should) purchase Fruit of the Poisoned Tree here, via Bandcamp!


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