Review “Self-titled” by The Stygian Complex

Hailing from Lexington North Carolina are a Deathcore trio by the name of The Stygian Complex. The group comprise vocalist Kyler Creek, drummer Cody Benge and guitarist/bass player Brandon Stuck. This, their self titled debut comprises 13 tracks, though 5 of those are instrumental versions of other album material. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by underground Metal King Chris Whited at 1776 Recordings.

An 83 second burst of riffage based around a crushing breakdown that drops the tempo in the later half “Intro” is a fine way to get any release underway. “Dead Mind” sees a higher pitched banshee wail of a vocal counter balanced perfectly by a deeper register get things fired up. Those shrill vocal parts are also in stark contrast to some crushing Deathcore guitar riffage and pummelling kit work that provides an off kilter eerie atmospheric. Spacious fills that build into blast beats and then drop off suddenly before recycling in a staggered pattern. Creek holds an extended Pig Squeal on a pair of occasions as the tempo drops and the track could even go for another verse, it’s that good. “B.I.H” keeps that vocal play giving the impression of dual vocalists when there is one. That being said, Stuck gets through the guitar work of two as well so that perhaps gives you an idea of the talents within this band! Benge also impresses with some seriously punishing pedal with as the track closes out.

“Hellworld” has a tight lead flourish in the guitars that perhaps hint of more technical music to come and some Death Metal leanings. The hellish vocals are enough to summon demons from depths while the stuccato bounce of the mid section reminds of bands like Signs of the Swarm. “Gutf**k” opens up with a spiralling bassline that leads the guitar work in before tilting to full throttle with some punishingly brutal kit work. The quality of the drum sound is phenomenal throughout but on this cut in particular it shines. Creek’s vocal range is the other thing that shines here. There’s no doubt he can do Hardcore, Deathcore, Death Metal and Metalcore vocals with the bark and bite on show here. The ferociousness and violence he’s able to generate is nothing short of magnificent in places.

“End Game” spins up into some faster instrumental work from the off, a significant tempo shift from the closing of the previous track. Gear shifting is something the band do seamlessly and effortlessly in order to generate their sound. There is a passage of more melodic Metalcore lead guitar work that is perhaps the only melodic material on the album. No clean vocals. That 20 second burst concludes with a return to the heavier guitar work with plenty of chug and bite. “TSC” features guest vocals from Bryan Long of Dealey Plaza and Epilogue fame. His opening verse sets the tone during some Metallic Hardcore riffage that then steps up a gear for Creek’s turn at the wheel. The surprise is the DJent guitar work that gets its moment across the breakdown. If you’re looking for a modern Deathcore album with plenty of variety that stays true to the genre (i.e. no Hip-Hop or Electronics) then this is well worth checking out. It’s a monster. The one on the cover! [8/10]

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