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1. Pathology Of Our Existance
2. Human Disfigurement
4. Failure To Succeed
5. Baled To Death
7. Devour Thy Throne
9. Your Cremation, Our Reclamation
10. A Misconception
11. Your Broadcast Is interupted
Whisteria Cottage's debut album, Heathen, is easily one of the most kick ass 'Deathcore' records to come out in quite some time, though this is probably due to the fact that it's not exactly a run-of-the-mill 'Deathcore' record...
The "American History X" snippet that gets things started kicks ass simply because the movie does....that goes without saying. But it's the way these guys compose their material that sets them apart from every other young up and coming extreme metal band out there right now.
"Pathology of Our Existence" kicks things off with a nicely executed blast beat and some of the most intense, demonically inspired layered deathcore vokills this side of full on blackened death metal. The band quickly follows that up by going straight for the throat with a mean ass grooving riff taken straight from the school of Machine Head (they nailed that fucking tone too!), and then drops the fuckin 808 bomb which of course leads right into what is an entirely predictable, but extremely crushing breakdown. Excepting only the most lame and truly stubborn elitists, there's really no way to avoid nodding your head and getting into a debut album of this caliber.
The band doesn't let up for a second as track 2, "Human Disfigurement", kicks in with another healthy dose of grinding blast beats, once again leading into a kick ass head nodding groove oriented thrashing staccato rhythm. You really can't help but get into the rhythms Whisteria Cottage lays down. The grooves are catchy as fuck. These first two tracks are a good indicator of what you can expect from the remainder of the album. Don't misconstrue that statement though, it's not just more of the same. 'Heathen' is a kick ass album through and through.
And while you may need a lyric sheet to understand what's being screamed at times, the vocal delivery is in perfect sync with the music, unlike the spastic all over the place delivery that some of the newer extreme vocalists out there seem to favor. Having a semblance of structure to their song writing is another simple but effective element that sets WC apart from their mostly clueless youngblood peers.
Much like Carnifex, Whisteria Cottage's guitarists (Chris Booth and John McMillion) are straight up groove monsters who fuckin kill it with their penchant for writing wicked head nodding rhythms.The difference is that unlike Carnifex (who seem to be capable of writing only one repetitive breakdown to fill space betweeen a small handful of grooving rhythms), Whisteria Cottage actually has a huge arsenal of riffs to choose from. And they put everything they have in that arsenal to use, mixing the best elements of Swedish Melodic Death Metal with Deathcore, Death Metal, and a lethal dose of solid Thrash rhythms, resulting in one hell of an album.
The guitarwork in and of itself isn't the most technical, but it's definitely better than what any of the third generation run-of-the-mill deathcore bands are putting out. Sure, there's a major deathcore feel to the material overall, but there's much more to it than that. Taking influence from classic thrash and death metal and beefing up the sound with a modern deathcore approach and making it sound good isn't easy, but that's essentially what Whisteria Cottage have done. One of the most unique things about 'Heathen' though, is the vocal performance. Vocalist Mike Comegys has managed to layer one rather raw vocal scream over another to make for a rather interesting somewhat distorted "dirty" deathcore rasp that is truly unlike that of any of his peers. And we all know that in the severely oversaturated extreme metal scene, having a unique delivery of ANY kind is a very good thing.
When "originality" is no longer an issue because we all know that almost everything that can be done has been done, it's bands like this that push themselves to be unique in some form or fashion that are going to lead and inspire the next generation of bands and fans.
For each trend that comes and goes within the metal community, only a handful of bands survive each oversaturation. Those being the absolute best from each wave. From more recent trends in recent years, we've watched bands like Korn, Slipknot, Disturbed, System Of A Down, Killswitch Engage, God Forbid, As I Lay Dying, and Lamb Of God get ahead of their peers and come out on top, while the rest fell apart, lost the plot, or drowned in a sea of mediocrity. All the aforementioned bands became leaders in their respective sub-genres because they were simply the best at what they did.
The latest trend still has yet to run it's course completely, but there are already a number of bands that have manged to find their own sound and have showcased a level of musical proficiency and song writing ability necessary to set themselves apart from the hordes of genre clones that strangle the life out of each passing trend. Whisteria Cottage should find themselves amongst that short list soon enough.
The band may barely be setting foot inside the ring with their debut release, but 'Heathen' is a seriously solid album that is more than strong enough to stand both above and apart from the slew of second rate releases we're sure to see this year. Definitely recommended for fans of extreme metal and deathcore without the bullshit image.