REVIEW: CULTURE KILLER – “Throes Of Mankind”
Throes of Mankind is the new album to be released by Culture Killer, scheduled for release on November 27, 2015 via Metal Blade Records. According to vocalist Ian Campbell, the album touches on lyrical themes such as racism, human trafficking, paedophilia and other subjects. Musically, the album revolves around aggressive hardcore with “violent, malevolent fervor”.
The album opens with its first track entitled “Blindfolded Death” which right from the start upholds the band’s promise of lyrically aggressive music in terms of themes. A slightly eerie introduction paves the way for plenty of heavy vocalism on the part of Young which is complimented by lots of clean-sounding guitar which owes more to technical death metal than traditional hardcore punk. Following “Blindfolded Death” is the record’s second song, which is called “Path of Reflection”. Rhythmically the track is somewhat different to the album’s opening song, but the sound of the instruments playing in conjunction with one another is still crushing. This energy paired with Ian’s ferocious singing style makes for a positive introduction to the album. “Path of Reflection” is also the first song on the record which allows the musical talent and the work of Young along with fellow guitarist Trevor Kopp to really shine in particular.
“Exterminate Filth” is track number 3 on the record, and it opens with a grotesque sounding introduction before getting down and dirty in the same way that the album’s first two songs have done. The vocal patterns and lines of frontman Ian Campbell are something to notice, as they change significantly from track to track, which is quite impressive as it shows that he is able to do many different things thereby avoiding the album from becoming vocally formulaic. This song also contains a great breakdown which is the centre-piece of the overall track. Moving on with the album is the fourth track “Cloaked in Deceit” which opens with a riff-based sludgy introduction complimented by fantastic sounding production, meaning that the song and especially the technicality of the guitar work is very nice on the ears, while Ian yet again manages to reinvent his vocal lines for this song.
Track number 5 is entitled “Throes”, which presumably serves as the namesake track for this album and is the reason why the album got its name in the first place. The song opens with a particularly interesting guitar introduction which goes on for quite some time, before the band’s rhythm section begins to play its part in the track. The song lasts just over two minutes and is entirely instrumental, which splits the record in two and is a formal beginning to the album’s second half.
The album’s sixth song which is called “Justice through Retaliation” returns to the previous style of heavy riffing heard on other songs on this record, but still retains the catchiness and the cleanliness of the guitars and their production. This track is arguably the record’s most ferocious yet, with some incredibly aggressive vocals from Ian Campbell which accompany the song’s instrumentation perfectly. The work of drummer Dylan Blow also stands out more on this track than on any of the songs heard prior, and the guitar solo is another stand-out moment for the song.
“Sub(Stance)” is the seventh song on Throes of Mankind and it immediately opens with plenty of aggressive vocals right from the get-go. The track picks up significantly in terms of rhythm and its instrumental pace, making it a memorable ride musically from beginning to end. Moments like this on the album are a welcome reminder of how enjoyable modern hardcore punk can be, with its technological updates since its inception in the classic punk era of the mid-to-late 1970s. The album’s eighth track is entitled “Flesh Empire” serves as more of the same as what has been heard before, but fans of confrontational and brutal hardcore punk will happily lap this up due to the impressive music on display, complimented by some satisfying production thanks to Alan Douches, Austin Coupe and Kenny Gil. This track again features some very nice technical guitar work which makes the song especially enjoyable to listen to.
The record’s penultimate track is a song called “Hellbent” chugs along with its own individual sense of rhythmic pace unlike anything that this album has heard before in terms of musical time signatures. Albums are at their best when the musicians behind their development are capable of introducing new ideas so far into a record, and this is exactly what has happened with Throes of Mankind. The album’s final track is entitled “Inhuman Nature”, which contains a lengthy opening section before settling down and introducing soft eerie vocals. The track draws to an eventual close with the best guitar solo on the entire record, and a particularly satisfying conclusion to an enjoyable punk album.
Throes of Mankind by Culture Killer is recommended to fans of straight-forward hardcore punk, melodic hardcore, or fans of bands such as Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and Hatebreed as you may find something to enjoy in this record.