Every single time a brutal or technical death metal album lands in my editor’s inbox, a little light dings on his dashboard and he immediately forwards it to me. “Redar will like this”, he thinks to himself as he types “hey, I think you’ll like this” like he’s Joe Montana in that old SNL sketch. Have I really become so one-dimensional in my tastes that the only requirements for me to review an album are “fast”, “brutal”, and “ignorant”?
Yes. Cytotoxin kick fucking ass, and their new album Gammageddon kicks fucking ass. It’s a massively entertaining blend of over-the-top technicality and brutal grooves, and MORE. In a twist move, Cytotoxin have eschewed the usual “just put all of the riffs we’ve written since the last album on here” mentality most BruTech bands adhere to and have written — wait for it – an ACTUAL ALBUM. From the spastic opener “Radiatus Generis” to the much more subdued exit of “Sector Zero”, Gammageddon tells a tale musically – apt for a band that describes themselves as Chernobyl Death Metal.
One of Cytotoxin’s greatest strengths is knowing when to let off the gas and let a riff breathe for a bit. The standards of the genre are present (djent-y triplets, rainbow road-style sweep picking, pig squeals, et al), but they function as parts of a whole rather than showboating as the band extends and plays with them until they’re indistinguishable on their own. That’s huge for a genre slogged in copies of copies in this day and age.
Another big plus is a heaping helping of brutality. No one track ever gets so tech-y that it loses sight of what makes death metal fun in the first place – raw fucking ignorance. “Redefining Zenith” barely even dips its toes in the tech stream, opting for sheer power over fret wizardry. The amount of variety contained within the framework of the genre is almost mind-blowing.
You know what? This reminds me of another band that writes highly stylized tech-death within the parameters of a theme world that I just adore, and that band is WORMED. I’ll be visiting the band’s back catalog to see if it shapes up, but Germany may have a band worthy of the all-caps, all-the-time treatment on its hands. And I mean Cytotoxin here – Necrophagist can get fucked until they stop Chinese Democracy-ing their fifteen years in the making new album.