Review: “Calculating Failure” by Existentia

Technical Death Metal trio Existentia are one of many projects born of the Great Plague, forming in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and looking to combine old school vibes with relentless technicalities to create their own blend of brutal chaos. How the band managed to team up with Grammy-nominated producers Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland of Atrium Audio (August Burns Red, Black Crown Initiate, Rivers of Nihil), for their debut EP “Calculating Failure” remains a mystery we’d love to know more about…

…in the meantime we have a debut EP that is an intriguing prospect to say the very least and after about 20 seconds of “Planned Obsolescence” you know what you’re getting from Existentia. A blistering kit performance that rattles the brain with vicious intent, fretboard smoking riffs requiring serious dexterity and brutal larynx troubling vocals. What you might not expect is the sheer volume of nuances packed into an EP of guitar wizardry that is as much style as it is substance. The opening cut sounds like August Burns Red playing a Hideous Divinity cover and somehow manages to shoehorn in a downtempo passage before returning to be gargantuan blast beats that border on the inhumain. Switching to staccato riffs for the depressive “Calculating Failure” which brings a dark skull battering meloncholic atmospheric vibe to the chorus as it tears you limb from limb is a master stroke of pure fire and when it comes to intensity, perhaps only Archspire do Tech Death like this. There no letup in that energy with “Artifice Hallucination” which has a sinister edge of pure malice as it cuts through your ear drums like a hot knife through butter. Another one with so much going on that it’s hard to appreciate it all in one go, something that only adds to its longevity, it’s a piece of Technical Death Metal mastery that is simply jaw dropping. It does however beg the question of how the trio are going to be able to carry this off live as they do enough layering in the studio to be at least a quintet. “Fulminate” is the icing on the cake a cut that ensures that the quality on show here is not just a flash in the pan and that Existentia have set themselves a seriously high bar for their debut album, whenever that should be. We expect great things from these Gentlemen going forward, their future is so bright it burns our retinas [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Planned Obsolescence
  2. Calculating Failure
  3. Artifice Hallucination
  4. Fulminate

Calculating Failure” by Existentia is out 17th September with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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