Cianide – Unhumanized Review

Sometimes evolution is just unnecessary.

Chicago’s gods of caveman death metal Cianide return with their first release in nine years, and only their third in the past twenty. (And even then, Unhumanized is only half an album.) Still, what Cianide may lack in prolificacy they make up for in single-minded focus: Now into the early stretch of their fourth decade, they’ve progressed only infinitesimally in those intervening years, if they’ve progressed at all. But, hey, if it ain’t broke, right?

Release date: December 13, 2019. Label: Hell’s Headbangers.
So what, then, does Unhumanized sound like? It sounds like Cianide, of course. It’s the sound of some unholy marriage between Hellhammer and Bolt Thrower. (Bolthammer? Hell Thrower?) Formed in 1988, Cianide sprung from the same well as the rest of the first wave of death metal, and thus, with the exception of Hellhammer, their sound isn’t as easily described as a combination of their influences as it is described as a combination of their contemporaries. Take Hellhammer’s rudimentary foundation, add a pinch of Obituary grime, and a dash of Asphyx doom, that relentless Bolt Thrower drive, and mix in some of Death Strike’s vicious thrashing punk-tinted death. Boil it all down to the absolute basics, with no remaining extraneous accoutrements of any kind, and there you have Cianide.

Since evolution is unnecessary, the differences between Unhumanized and 2011’s Gods Of Death are subsequently slight, and mostly superficial. The production on this latest offering is stronger, the mix better, and that’s obviously an improvement, though Unhumanized is leaps and bounds from polished or slick. Scott Carroll’s guitars still carve with a gnarly, noxious tone, his riffs pared down to T.G. Warrior levels of gut-level simplicity. Mike Perun’s bellowing roar is old-school, his bass in lockstep with Carroll to form the One Big Riff. Drummer Andy Kuizin pushes the whole affair along with a cracking energy, even when plodding along at tar-coated doom tempo. From the woozy bent riffing of “Serpent’s Wake” through the rollicking “Traitors” to the ominous and oppressive crush of closer “Shadow Of The Claw,” Unhumanized is unfiltered and unfettered with any wasted notes or beats or anything approaching the unnecessary.

Cianide’s catalog isn’t known for its differences, more so for its similarities, and in those, Unhumanized is yet another slice of Chicago-style death metal from one of its longest-running perpetrators. No frills, no bullshit. Just death metal, like the good Lord Ditka intended it.

Take the poison.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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