Review: “Global Enslavement” by Massive Slavery

After an 8 year hiatus Rouyn Noranda, Qu├ębec Melodic Death Metallers Massive Slavery have returned. The socially, politically and environmentally engaged band may not have announced their new line-up as yet but it’s sure to leak if they hit the stage before anything official appears. They’ve been fighting with their former label Maple Metal Records and have finally been able to regain the rights to their critically acclaimed first album “Global Enslavement” which is of course now available via all your favourite streaming services. So it’s time to check out the beast!

After some channel hoping and a haunting underpinning synth tone “MediAssassiNation” kicks in with some powerhouse blast beats and a roar and some solid riffs. A clean and crisp drum sound sets the tone for the album with every hit as clean as a whistle. A Tech-Metal inspired breakdown of off kilter notes in a higher pitched lead tone bleeds into the follow verse with the false solo making way for a full blown one shortly thereafter. It’s not a face melter, instead acting as a melodic break from the throat shredding unclean vocals and is done wonderfully well. That technical element is taken into the energetic opening of “Shade of Corruption” repeating the lead flourishes with that higher pitched tone to full effect. The accented English vocals suggest that French maybe the bands mother tongue and with the bands overall sound being not too far away from the likes of God Syndrome, they would make for decent touring partners should they ever venture to Europe. Title track “Global Enslavement” punches hard with some brutal footwork on the kit and the bass getting some seriously meaty parts. Taking on the notion that we are all slaves to the media and the government, it’s a very true sentiment that most people are blind to. The use of a pair of brutal grunts that don’t quite pig squeal is an interesting touch given the album having comparisons with “The Silent Circus” by Between The Buried And Me musically.

Starting out with a lead like that would be in tune with early 2000’s era Metalcore “The Denial of Man’s Regression” continues in that vibe with both rhythm and lead guitars giving the likes of early Shadows Fall a run for their money. The pair of differentiators being the brutal drum work and caustic vocals though it has to be said that Philip Labonte did bring this vocal style in the early days. A tasteful melodic break allows things to step back up to the driven pace with the kit setting the speed and everything else trying to keep up. There could have actually been a couple of lead parts that expanded on would have been even more impressive but the pace of the kit work doesn’t allow. Starting off with a hardcore esq groove before kicking off “Destroy, Rebuild, Repeat” chants those words over and over in the first verse like a mantra. Asking for us to be honest about the way life is with nothing changing just infinitely looping throughout Humanity’s history and on into the future, it’s a fine example of some thought provoking lyrics. Those lyrics are surrounded by some chugging riffage and whirlwind drum work with a contining lead pull squeal flourish throughout. Far from being anything associated with cold “A Cold Interlude” has a Melloncholic Melodic guitar part that then picks up via the sounding of sirens into some interesting lead work of a more progressive nature. It’s a piece that has a stare into the distance quality to it and a fine way to include a break in the album without simply tacking it onto the end.

Getting back into the groove fairly quickly and returning to those brilliant lead parts accompanied by some jaw dropping drum pummelling “Wider We Open Our Eyes” greets us with a longer piece of instrumental introduction before a brutal roar introduces the vocals. There is a quality to the technical aspects of Massive Slavery that shouldn’t go unmentioned and certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. They might call themselves “Melodic Death Metal” but actually there is a lot more to their sound. This song is a fine example of that and there are some sublime skills on show.

Punishingly heavy “Pull The Plug On Modern Civilization” starts with some of the most savage vocals on the “Global Enslavement” and brings some surprising elements like a groove metal breakdown bridging a pair of blast beat drum sections before returning later on. There is a certain amount of “who can play faster” on the album as a whole and that sense is most prevalent here. Some stuccato riff breaks bring in the surprisingly melodic “Humanity’s Last Hope” which musically has an air of familiarity about it. Rhythmic guitar work is replaced by rhythmic leads to build the atmosphere as ironically the vocals reach new hellish depths. Those lead riffs set haunting tones that drive the message of the lyrics home in fine form while the consistent call and response from the soloing is a piece of magic. Final tune “Generalized Cyberphobia” is a song about… Well you’ve guessed it. After a Technical and Melodic start it explodes into life with gusto, those continued lead tones and drum sound tying everything in the album together and giving it excellent flow. A neck snappingly headbangable breakdown section has a Metallic Hardcore tinge while the accompanying growl is simply vicious! [8/10]

Track listing

  1. MediAssassiNation
  2. Shade of Corruption
  3. Global Enslavement
  4. The Denial of Man’s Regression
  5. Destroy, Rebuild, Repeat
  6. A Cold Interlude
  7. Wider We Open Our Eyes
  8. Pull The Plug On Modern Civilization
  9. Humanity’s Last Hope
  10. Generalized Cyberphobia

“Global Enslavement” by Massive Slavery is out now and available via bandcamp

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