From Portugal, Annihilation are a brutal five-piece death metal band who have returned with a whole new album, The Undivided Wholeness Of All Things, due out November 28 via Nice to Eat You Records. This album is the follow-up to 2014’s The Undivided.
The album opens up with “M.A.S.S.” which begins slowly but picks up and gets pretty brutal at about the forty-second mark. It slows back down at about three minutes and fifteen seconds, and being an instrumental, my initial reaction to the track was that it was easily skippable. As you’ll find out, the instrumental work is this album’s high point.
“Universal Dismal Collapse” is their first single from the album. This is what the band says about that track:
“‘Universal Dismal Collapse‘ focuses on the spawning of a new Universe inside of a Multiverse. After the initial Big Bang explosion and the massive quantity of energy generated, several parallel Universes were created resulting in multiple realities. The Undivided Wholeness Of All Things revolves around the creation and destruction of one of those Universes and alternative reality ruled by a reptilian entity called Nagas that feeds on human energy.”
Sounds like it would make a great science fiction novel, but instead it’s a metal song. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear I was listening to Dethklok and that Metalocalypse was getting a new season soon. Alas, that will never happen, but we’re not here to talk about that. The next track is “Ascended Masters” and it’s just as hard-hitting. The drums from Ita dos Santos are pretty phenomenal, and the guitar playing is solid.
The astounding drumming keeps going through “The Illusion of Space and Time” and the leads from João Corceiro demonstrate a huge amount of skill as well. The incredibly low death metal growls don’t let up, which sounds cool but makes it damn difficult to understand just what in the hell session vocalist Diogo Santana is trying to say. The band is using a session vocalist because band founder Fábio Da Silva has stepped down from vocal duties, only taking on rhythm guitar from now on (and doing it quite well). Live vocals from this point on will be handled by new member Sofia Silva. It will be interesting to hear how her voice makes these songs sound. Speaking of these songs, let’s get back to the album and actually speak of these songs, shall we?
“Emptiness Defiled” is a long one, but not overly so. It’s got a bit of a slower tempo, but it’s still fast and heavy and pounding. When the music speeds up, you get a face full of brutal blast beats. “Omniverse” is as epic a death metal song as they come, blending downtempo riffs with thundering bass and drums, and then picking the riff speed way up. “Xenoverse” is downtempo without sounding balladesque, at least for the first minute or so. The brutality takes over and the crunching guitar riffs almost drown out the low growls of the vocals. “Nagas” is the eighth and final track on the album, and it’s heavy as fuck. Those blast beats are brutal. It’s another long track, but again it’s not overly long and the energy carries through all the way from start to finish. Not once does it begin to drone on and on or become boring.
All in all, The Undivided Wholeness Of All Things is an instrumentally phenomenal record. Vocally, I just don’t think Diogo Santana was the right guy for the job. While these low guttural growls have become somewhat of a trademark of death metal, I feel like this particular sound has become a bit cliché in the genre. I recommend buying the album for the impressive instrumentals alone and then going to see these guys live (if you can) to hear the differences between the live show and the recorded material to see which you prefer. My money’s on the live show.
Bloodrock Rating: 4 out of 5 axes.
2. Universal Dismal Collapse
3. Ascended Masters
4. The Illusion of Space and Time
5. Emptiness Defiled
Sofia Silva – Vocals
Fábio Da Silva – Rhythm Guitars / Vocals
João Corceiro – Lead Guitars
Tiago Felizardo – Bass
Ita dos Santos – Drums
Written by Mitch Ellerbrock for Bloodrock Media on November 5, 2017