A late entry before deadline day for Sounds, “Order of Torment” by Washington D. C’s Genocide Pact.
The band are also now an entry into my imaginary sub-genre of death metal, “The Old School Death Metal Revivalists” or OSDMR, pronounced osdemer, if you are taking me seriously. The set of bands that seem to take more influence from the earlier aeons of Death Metal, as opposed to the extensions of the genre that came later in the mid-nineties. This stable includes Necrot, Gatecreeper and Mammoth Grinder and maybe others, also sharing an admiration for the European side of death metal along with the American bands that starting things off.
This is their second album since forming in 2013. The trio deliver punishing death metal in eight fatal doses on their latest album and it’s an experience that peaks my interest from the first minute to the last.
Genocide Pact’s style is one of very dense composition. They manage to weave in and out so many differing tempos, feels, levels of intensity that one can be forgiven they may have missed a very subtle transition of song, only to find it’s still the same one.
Opening track “Conquered and Disposed” is a great example of the meandering path a single song can take you down. Tempos range from mid, to doom territory of excruciating slowness, right up to some grindcore standards of speed.
Crushing riffs dominate the landscape of this doom-laden expedition and can be found wherever you go within the track listing of “Order of Torment”. Look no further than the opening sequence to ‘Spawn of Suffering’ for a particularly ominous example.
You get to track number four, ‘Pain Reprisal”, before anything that qualifies as a guitar solo pops up. I was beginning to think during my first listen that they maybe don’t indulge at all, getting nearly half way through the album before the first proper approach to one. The guitarist (and vocalist) has a very ordered style that is high in both melody and technical proficiency that complement and improve the songs they appear in.
“Pain Reprisal” also features a very cheeky nod from the drums in particular, to Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ introduction, not something that has gone unnoticed by others. If you’re familiar with this C.C classic then you won’t have troubling spotting it. The context that the band introduce this in is of course different to Cannibal Corpse but exhilarating and just feels, right. Just to the mention the solo section again, what the rest of the instrumentation brings is a great example of the diversity that Genocide Pact utilise within their style. The backing for the solo is a slow, drawn out doom and sludge metal sounding dirge, backed by a drum beat with acres between hits and guitars that are allowed to ring and decay naturally into the space. This allows the solo to shine through and cut in all the right places, until the track fades to silence and closes the first half of the album.
The second half simply carries on in similar pummelling fashion. This album is solid from the beginning. Each track averages around five minutes in length and packs untold amounts of detail into each painstakingly crafted song. This one could seriously be a contender for one of the best albums this year.
If this is the bar, then I am really interested in whoever manages to jumps over it.