[Album artwork by Pedro Sena / Lordigan]
True or false: the town of Brutal Slamsville is mostly intended to be populated by those young enough to be indifferent toward one-a-day vitamins. AKA: leave the hall, Brutal Slam Dad. Or Brutal Slam Mom, for that matter—this ain’t no haven for parental bias. It’s dad who gets thrown under the microscope today, though, because I am a dude myself, so I relate to him, despite missing the most obvious requirement of having children. Furthermore, Emo Dad blazed this trail years ago.
Brutal Slam Dad in a nutshell:
• Everyone who goes to brutal slam shows has heard Brutal Slam Dad’s story about seeing and meeting Suffocation “just before Effigy of the Forgotten came out.”
• Brutal Slam Dad’s camo cargo shorts ensemble includes a sensible belt, and he wears some sort of hybrid hiking / running shoe despite having basically zero to do with hiking or running these days.
• Brutal Slam Dad might think the neighbors regard him as “the wrong dad to fuck with” because he wears a Chiffonaded Monkey Entrails shirt while doing yard work, but they mostly just wish he’d get rid of that rotting Bowrider boat in the side-yard.
• Brutal Slam Dad’s desire to pound beer goes down with sun, and the only thing less attractive to him than staying up past midnight is having to stand through three other bands before a headliner hits the stage.
• Brutal Slam Dad wants to be sure everyone hears the latest album from Methemoglobinemia Lab exploding from the windows of his car in the grocery store parking lot, but he requires absolute silence outside the windows of the house after 10pm.
Back to the original question at hand: the answer is, of course, FALSE—there are no definitive age barriers in music. Listen to whatever makes you happy, and listen to it without worrying about fitting inside some strange box.
Still… Can’t shake the thought that brutal slam feels relatively young, so don’t be surprised if you get pegged as a nark at the slambeque if you mistake the gravity bong on the table as some sort of work-in-progress science project. Fortunately, the snickerdoodles you brought will elevate you to hero status in about an hour.
Then Organectomy’s Existential Disconnect lands in your lap.
Fittingly, that album cover looks like the final battle in a video game that no one with a full-time job will ever have enough hours to reach; the logo looks like it could say anything from En Vogue to Extra Saucy (but not really Organectomy); and the sneaky suspicion that things might end up sounding like the umpteenth deathcore floor-punching exercise in microphone eating jumps out and makes a person who has absolutely zero interest in deathcore suitably wary.
What this actually is, however, is a brutal slam death metal record you absolutely can and should hand to anyone who left it all behind when the early grind elements became overshadowed by the sort of riffs and breakdowns that landed nu and alternative metal on the map. Not because Existential Disconnect sounds closer to Internal Bleeding circa 1995 than it does any number of modern slam acts, but for the reason that Organectomy’s brand of brutal slam makes the more modern rendering of the off-shoot extremely palatable by way of creative song-crafting, sheer chops, an emphasis on brutality, and a clear appreciation for classic bands that include a few on the outskirts of their chosen sphere.
To be clear, if you hate brutal slam like Garfield hates Mondays, you’ll still hate this record. Existential Disconnect flashes all the characteristic pinched, palm-muted, dime-turning, sewer-vocaled, brake-slamming, piledriving, jump-the-fuck-up-and-down pukiness that any soundtrack dedicated to a knuckledragging romance could ever hope to cram inside 50 minutes. A song like “Antithetical” starts off very clean, crunchy and bouncy, but it quickly turns into a particularly “Bro, dost thou even hoist” measure by the 15-second mark that scoots forward merrily until a gnarly thrash riff throws everything into a circle pit.
The rest of the fare is equally pitiless, with deeper or lighter emphases placed on the elements brutal slam bands typically rely on to embellish brutality. Opener “Severed from Humanity” steps on your throat seconds after you hear someone literally clear their throat, and it doesn’t really let up until a demon of a breakdown hits around the 2-minute mark that becomes even more brown-noted 30 seconds later. The title track that follows is equally as thumping—somehow breathing life into some fairly outdated Matrix soundbites by slamming harder than a Humpback breaching and landing on a pedal boat, and also by busting out the album’s most savory nod to Vio-Lence’s brand of thrash riffing right around 2:15.
At times the record kicks you to the dirt more slowly and menacingly—“No Solace in Ascendance” in particular, which is the darkest, longest and most crawling number, but also happens to feature the brightest, bubbliest lead towards its close.
Other times, things feel damn-near celebratory, like the joyous sklip-sklap-a-doodling Krush Groove of “Catastrophic Intent” that eventually scurries toward the finish line with a pure prog stretch before kicking back to slam for its termination.
In short, most every song presented blenders the best that modern brutal slam has to offer, but it’s not afraid to spice the stew further by pulling from some perhaps surprising outskirts. When was the last time you heard a song from this particular field blister to the point of conjuring modern Mayhem the way “Where Pantheons Lie II: Conviction” does? Organectomy has the chops to make it work.
Cinching the complete victory are the vocals that help tie everything together. For anyone who generally finds themselves equally switched off by -core hollering or overly processed voices that sound little more than a miked-up hyperactive bowel that recently plowed through some unreliable tuna salad, Organectomy’s vocalist finds a perfect sweet spot that roars and gurgles with equal emphasis—perhaps less like an actual toilet and more like a monstrosity singing a love song to a toilet. Surprisingly, the closest the record gets to outright pig squeals occurs inside “Unending Regrowth” (great song title), and that’s because the song features a guest spot from Matti Way of Liturgy and Abominable Putridity.
The easiest way to describe it all is, well, FUN. Remember fun? Brutal, slamming death metal that’s fun and in fact quite fit for the entire family: Brutal Slam Dads, Brutal Slam Moms, Slam Grammies and Pappies, plus all the grimy Slam Youth that have been gifted to us all. If Existential Disconnect could be an amusement park, which it should, it would offer an endless supply of rides that forewarn of grisly decapitations, senseless disembowelments and alarming head explosions, but you’d still manage to walk away from it all exceedingly thrilled to finally be free of your guts.