Review: “Kostolom” by Slaughter To Prevail

Formed in 2014 when United Kingdom based guitarist Jack Simmons, known for his work in Acrania and Hollow Prophet teamed up with Russian pairing Aleksandr “Alex Terrible” Shikolai and drummer Anton Poddyachy formerly of We Are Obscurity, Deathcore brutes Slaughter To Prevail have been on everyone’s watch list since 2016’s “Chapters Of Misery“. Thanks to dark themed songs with influences from the likes of Deathcore pioneers like Suicide Silence and Carnifex alongside the Nu-Metal of early Slipknot with bone snapping guitar work, skull crushing percussion percussive battery and some insane gutteral low vocals, they’ve been a wrecking ball that live venues have had to add extra security for globally. That EP was followed by 2017’s “Misery Sermon” before a four year long wait for this, their sophomore album but fortunately the band have not kept us in the dark the whole time, releasing two singles that have been performed live on many occasions in between times. Poddyachy left the group in 2018 so for this record the band have former My Autumn bassist Mikhail “Mike” Petrov on bass in the ranks since 2016, former Katalepsy drummer  Evgeny Novikov since 2018 and the returning former We Are Obscurity guitarist Dmitry Mamedov after six years away…

At nearly 50 minutes “Kostolom” doesn’t disappoint even with a third of the album out before the release date. Perhaps that was something of a tactical move by Sumerian Records as there is more of an expansion of the sound of the previous records here that might not equate to a style shift but certainly brings more elements to the table. The whirlwind begins with “Bonebreaker” which has some distinctly “Iowa” era Slipknot flavours in some of the riffs and drum patterns as well as dropping enough menacing groove of its own to call fans to the circle pit. It may not be the opening annihilation that some might have expected but is an anthemic welcome to the nightmare. Each song here has that drive and energy that Slipknot had on their earlier albums and that Wage War had on “Dead Weight“, which makes it an intriguing if surprising listen. The much talked about “Demolisher” then rears its ugly head, stepping up the incline of heavier sounds with more brutal throat splitting uncleans and some eerie haunting melodies in the background before a classy downtempo part that is a real winner. While earlier on in the bands career the vocals were largely Russian with a smattering of English but the script has been flipped and Alex Terrible has improved his English even if there are a few moments of accenting that don’t quite work due to pronunciation issues. The  unhinged nature of them with multiple voices works incredibly well, as does the use of melody and by the time “Baba Yaga” and “Made In Russia” hit, the sound that the band have for this album is cemented. Naysayers might say it’s more commercial or mainstream than their previous offerings but it’s still heavy and loaded with everything you could want from a Metal record, even if it’s not Deathcore and has far wider reaching appeal.

The drum sound is absolutely incredible, huge, clean and crisp and that coupled with the bass gives it a satisfying rhythms crunch while the staccato rhythms constantly change tempo like the shifting sands of the Sahara. Continuing the transcendence, “Agony” bites with schizophrenia and Terrible rants and raves like a madman off his head while the technical complexity of a ripper of a solo is a stunning addition that the band should lean on more often. The orchestral moments of  “I Killed A Man” take things in a different direction adding a sense of meloncholic atmosphere to something otherwise pretty dark and heavy with blistering rhythms and vicious intent while “Bratva” has an almost WWE announcement before it kicks into mid-tempo chug-o-rama and Russian rantings with an air of familiarity about it that makes it instantly gratifying. It might not sound dated in any way shape or form, but it has certainly been done before and while that’s not necessarily a negative however it might affect its longevity. “Ouroboros” brings electronics and another face melter of a solo to the plate but is possibly a verse and chorus over long but has another killer solo to close it. The Deathcore returns with the brutal opening of “Head On A Plate“, a vicious opening with a false ending after a third of the cut it’s a circle pit void to another dimension opening affair that blows away the previous cut like a tornado in venomous fashion. Slaughter To Prevail have grown their sound and in turn taken risks that for the most part pay off even if it wears some of its influences on its heavily tattooed sleeve [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Bonebreaker
  2. Demolisher
  3. Baba Yaga
  4. Made In Russia
  5. Zavali Ebalo
  6. Agony
  7. Your Only
  8. I Killed A Man
  9. Bratva
  10. Ouroboros
  11. Head On A Plate
  12. Father

Kostolom” by Slaughter To Prevail is out 13th August 2021 via Sumerian Records

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