Cardiac Arrest – The Day That Death Prevailed Review

That snuggly blanket you wrap around yourself at night with your glass of red wine or hot cocoa. That ice cold tea or frosty beer that you always enjoy on the back porch after you finish the lawn, the smell of freshly cut grass wafting in the afternoon air. The plate of pasta with the deliziosa sauce that you order every time you visit your favorite restaurant; the beautifully grilled burger or brat, plated straight from that special spot above orange-grey coals; that favorite actress in a new film built on obvious tropes, and yet you watch the entirety and laugh or cry or both as the moment dictates. The Chicago death metal album that deep-dishes up crushing old-style riffs to once again knock your noggin for a loop.

There’s comfort in familiarity.

Release date: July 27, 2020. Label: Memento Mori / Boris.
Not that Cardiac Arrest is made of sugar and spice and anything we’d typically call comforting, mind you — it’s quite the opposite, actually — but their brand of death is a familiar one, especially if you’ve been paying attention across their previous six albums. They’re not a comforting sight, more like a beast made from rotten corpses, all gristly bits o’ hair and bones, dripping with wriggly worms and writhing maggots. And a vicious beast they are, attacking with the relentless ferocity of a mama bear protecting her cubs. But then again, if you’re not looking for that, then what are you doing here?

The Day That Death Prevailed wastes little time in getting to the point: After a quick fade-in, “Thrive On The Fear” establishes Cardiac Arrest’s modus operandi, which is straightforward riffs atop pounding rhythms and all topped off with Adam Scott’s mostly intelligible gutturals. Cardiac Arrest is not a band for surprises — again, there’s comfort in familiarity — and The Day That Death Prevails provides none, aside from that they’ve managed to create yet another platter of death metal goodness from the same basic building blocks as the previous six. Follow-up track “Birth Of Hideki” carves with the subtlety of a chainsaw; a series of highly effective riffs slices and dices through the tune’s first half before dropping to a swaggering mid-tempo midway through, building back to full strength bit by bit as drummer Nick Gallichio gradually throttles up the intensity. The doomy breakdown is so effective that they do it again in “Plague Ridden Destiny,” to equally great and grimy results as that track is both the album’s longest and among its catchiest. By the time the rollicking “Up From Oblivion” wraps the album, The Day That Death Prevailed has been a thrashing bashing death metal rampage, no excuses made and no quarter given.

So yes, stylistically, The Day That Death Prevailed sticks to the band’s established formula, but there is one important distinction: Cardiac Arrest has plied this trade for a long time, but they have gotten better. In place now through three full-lengths, this current line-up of Cardiac Arrest has jelled into a swaggering monster, capable of building enough destructive hooks into their violence to keep the heads banging and the fists in the air. Also, like the album before it, The Day That Death Prevailed transcends earlier ones like Haven For The Insane and Vortex Of Violence largely because it simply sounds better. The production on The Day That Death Prevailed is punchy and stout, though it’s not at all slick — thick, gnarly distortion gives the guitars a mighty downtuned heft, and Gallichio’s drums hit like hammers.

If you’re looking for innovation, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for that certain Chicago-bred type of death metal that simply doesn’t let up through a solid half-hour of aggression, well… then wrap this snuggly blanket around your ears, friends.

Death prevails, indeed.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

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

  1. Do you see yourself returning to this one, or is it more of a listen-to-it-once-and-enjoy-it-but-then-go-back-and-listen-to-the-classics kind of album?


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