Review: “Ecdysis” by Misanthropik Torment

Cloaked in a shroud of darkness, the murky past of Misanthropik Torment is something of a mystery. Depending on where you look the band have inked either six perhaps as many as ten studio albums together as well as a pair of EPs and a run of standalone tracks. What we do know is that no longer content to simply sit back in the shadows quietly observe the sickness of humanity, the Lexington Kentucky duo of multi instrumentalist Jonathan R. Nesbitt (Crucible Steel) and vocalist, lyricist Erik Leviathan (Reincarnation, Triggering Trauma) have been busily exercising their first amendment rights to freedom of speech with lyrics that run on themes of anti-tyranny and human decay. That has involved pushing boundaries and blending elements from all sides of Extreme Metal while plotting World domination from their very own Misanthropik Studio, mixing and mastering their own creations…

The violence and vitriol begins with “Master And Slave“, a juggernaut that borders on Grindcore territory with a drum machine in overdrive and a wealth of turbulent riffs creating an swirling darkness. Ranting and raving like an escapee from the psychiatric ward, Leviathan’s non stop tsunami of venom and blood is a lot to take in. At points like he’s trying to cram in as many lyrics as possible into a space that they simply don’t fit, giving us a single verse of relentlessness. However oddly, it grows on you with multiple listens, his use of several different styles in the piece impressing when it probably shouldn’t. Title track “Ecdysis” builds up the atmospheric tensions before letting the beast loose from his cage and this time there are well timed gaps between each verse with Leviathan becoming increasingly demonic as it plays out. From the scalding shrill to the deeper growl, he has it in his locker, never afraid to mix it up to bring home the bacon. “Monkey See, Monkey Do” feels like a demo thrown into the mix at the last minute thanks to the guitar sound which has been chosen, something which adds to the raw, rough and ready 80’s Death Metal tape trading feel of the record, giving it a strange nostalgic charm. There is however no disguising the Groove Death vibes of “False Prophet” which has a genuine swagger to it in the guitar department while Leviathan roars like a wild creature caught in a bear trap.

A classic Hardcore Punk bassline introduces “Somnium Mortuus Est” before it returns to the usual Extreme Metal violence with arguably the best vocal performance of the record as Leviathan holds absolutely nothing back. Spilling his guts in this fashion can only provide catharsis as the horrors witnessed with the eyes and ears are regurgitated in the spirit of Glen Benton. By this point it’s almost as if the album has been put into an order whereby the cuts showcase steady improvement, which seems at odds with anything that has gone before it from any other band but Misanthropik Torment are the kind of band that always cuts against the grain. “This Horrid Life” feels like an early Suffocation demo that dances on the hot coals of Groove Death Metal with plenty of head bang appeal, lacking perhaps a solo to give it a little more edge but still having plenty of satisfying crunch. A couple of moments of melody which which border on Country that close out “Believe In Nothing, Question Everything” accompanied by a spoken word makes for a curious twist in the tale before “Karmatic Retribution” brings the house down. Another primitive sounding cut that’s rough and ready, without vocals this one would sound like it belongs on the soundtrack to the original Quake with chunky riffs and touches of Melodic Death Metal lead work the ideal soundscape for a rampage though the tunnels… [6.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Master And Slave
2. Ecdysis
3. Monkey See, Monkey Do
4. False prophet
5. Somnium Mortuus Est
6. This Horrid Life
7. Believe In Nothing, Question Everything
8. Karmatic Retribution

Ecdysis” by Misanthropik Torment is out 14th February 2023 via Earache Digital Distribution / Misanthropik Records / Kvlt und Kaos Productions with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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