Review: “The Void Eternal” by Art of Attrition

Hailing from Red Deer Alberta Canada and featuring in their ranks members and former members of Plaguebringer, Haaze and Protosequence who in those acts have shared stages with the likes of Carnifex, Angelmaker and Suffocation, Blackened Technical Deathcore aggressors Art of Attrition have to be considered seasoned veterans at this point. Citing influences in Archspire, Aversions Crown and Dark Funeral to name but a few, their debut album together “The Void Eternal” was written and recorded during a time of plague and pestilence. Mixed and mastered by Diego Fernandez (Arctos, Mongol) of Oracle Studios and adorned by artwork from Caelan Stokkermans (The Acacia Strain, Distant), all of those factors make it an intriguing offering to say the very least…

As with a lot of genre tagging these days Blackened Technical Deathcore feels like something of an undersell from Art Of Attrition within a matter of minutes. The mournful melancholia of the introduction piece that forms the title track has cinematic qualities that cleanse the mind of all thought in preparation for the album and when “Apoplexy” arrives, it’s an absolute monster. Sweeping Black Metal guitars, ethereal icy synths and orchestration, barraging rhythmic abrasions and restless, relentless kit work from Greg Smith all combine to stunning effect and we haven’t even mentioned Josh Hahn’s vocals. He’s got a range that is bigger than the Grand Canyon, combining ear splitting Slam moments with shriller Death Metal screams and even a few clean moments in a varied attack that leaves nothing left but dust and ash in its wake. Smith’s Jackhammer footwork and blasting feels like an artillery shelling during “The Malthusian Catastrophe” which keeps the orchestration back a little bit in the mix so as not to overpower the guitars, but still impresses adding a sense of epic grandeur to an otherwise tectonic plate shifting powerhouse. Those cinematics then come to the fore with some Progressive leaning guitars in “Deep Red” to create something that is on the Symphonic Death Metal register as the blood splitting vocals make for arguably the cuts heaviest anchor. Not being afraid to paint with different colours, textures and melodies may give a broader appeal but it also means that when the band come back out swinging with the breakdown heavy “Under The Weight Of Apathy” which needs its own tow truck, it slaps that much harder. The searing intensity is matched stride for stride by the technicality, making this a truly unstoppable interdimensional beast.

If you’re following us so far, then Art Of Attrition have clocked up Symphonic, Cinematic, Progressive, Technical, Blackened, Death Metal and Deathcore to which descriptions they add both DJent and Thrall with the brutal “Understanding Hate“, a spine juddering assault on the senses that tickles the taste buds while crushing the skull at the same time. But despite all that they have poured into this so far, there is more. The menacing and sinister “Hunt” carves open new wounds as Hahn vents in blood spitting fashion, the icy synths offering a touch of science fiction to cut that packs a Meshuggah sized groove. Slamming hard, “The Hive Inside” is a lethal dose of pure hatred that flips the script at the tail end with Nu-Deathcore like rap screams and staccato riff breaks that fall into Ten56 territory in brutally unexpected fashion. Intriguingly grand finale “To Dance in the Den of the Snakes” features a guest appearance from Chris Wiseman of Shadow of Intent and Currents but not as you might expect. He provides the Orchestration rather than the guitars on this one as the band get to work with someone they consider amongst their myriad of influences. The result of that is that from out of nowhere they’re able to draw another five percent when they’ve already given absolutely everything and give us a magnum opus of a cut that defies all the odds. Blackened Technical Deathcore? And then some! [8.5/10]

Track Listing
  1. The Void Eternal
  2. Apoplexy
  3. The Malthusian Catastrophe
  4. Deep Red
  5. Under the Weight of Apathy
  6. Understanding Hate
  7. Hunt
  8. The Hive Inside
  9. To Dance in the Den of the Snakes (ft. Chris Wiseman of Shadow of Intent, Currents)

The Void Eternal” by Art of Attrition is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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