Blast Rites: Chadhel – Failure // Downfall Review

“If we go down the current status quo for, let’s say, about twenty years, we probably destroy our civilization… Probably don’t survive.”

Release date: December 16, 2022. Label: Give Praise / Nihilocus / Helldog .
A soundbite from Jaron Lanier’s The Social Dilemma opens Failure // Downfall, nestled snugly in the midst of an epic and crusty chord pattern and offset with savage tremolo riffing. It’s a cheerful start to Chadhel’s second full-length, but one that perfectly lays the groundwork for the destruction to come. Like the greatest of grindcores, Failure // Downfall is the soundtrack of frustration at the modern experience, filled with all the expected rage and rancor, twenty-nine minutes of savagery separated into nineteen subsets of jagged, sharpened points and blunt-force pummeling in equal measure.

From that opening bit of “Wasteland Overlord,” Failure // Downfall tears through riff after riff, GT’s guitars and Fredo’s drums locked together, whether thrashing or blasting, spiraling or slicing. “Filling Up The Void With Nothing” starts with a bouncing thrash groove, quickly ratcheting up to blastbeats and skronking swirls of notes, before returning to a swinging chunky gait. The occasional bout of Voivod-ian dissonance pokes through from time to time, all through Failure, but most of GT’s riffery is of the carving, biting variety, much more bonesaw slicing than textural. The literal and figurative center of the record is the nearly three-minute “EatXBlastXDie,” a raucous ride that features tons of swaggering thrashy riffing amidst a curious lack of blastbeats. A plaintive clean vocal briefly floats in from the depths of “Magnifying Prism Of Erratic Behavior,” the album’s only outright “melodic” moment, and a fleeting sidestep from Chadhel’s three-vocal attack – high, low, and “in between.”

These Quebecers cite all the expected grind giants as influences — Napalm Death, Nasum, Antigama, Pig Destroyer, Discordance Axis, and the like — and perhaps not unexpectedly, Failure // Downfall falls squarely in some middle ground between all of that. Picking up where Chadhel’s half of the 2021 split with Assiduous Assault left off, Failure is a step above that one through sheer focused refinement, particularly in terms of a fuller production. Failure // Downfall is not a drastic departure, stylistically, merely the natural forward trajectory of Chadhel’s modern death/grind; it’s the sound of a relatively young band (begun as a two-man project and expanded to a quartet later on) now firmly on their feet, full-grown and confident and churning out some first-class grinding to show it.

Released at the tail-end of 2022, too late for the year-end lists and regrettably too early for those in 2023, Failure // Downfall is a grand way to cap off grindcore’s banner year last year, slotting nicely alongside all the other raging rippers from Human Cull, Escuela Grind, No/Mas, Antigama, and sharing borders and commonalities with each.

The end of the world is coming, but at least we’ll have kick-ass grind to listen to while we burn, right?

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

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

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