Slovakia’s Killchain have been plying their death metal trade since 2005, originally focussing on sounds of the old school. Along the way they’ve played with bands as diverse as Exhumed, Gorgoroth, Cynic and released two albums. Perhaps inspired by the diversity of the bands they’ve shared the stage with, today sees Killchain infusing its brew with added technical and hardcore influences. A wise move? Well as I’ve heard neither of their previous records I really couldn’t say…
Following an intro consisting of demonic rumbling and mumbles from the abyss comes ‘I’m Rotting from the Inside Out’. The guitar tone grates against your skin, while heavy blasts punctuate some technical musical layers. In some respects the vocals remind me a bit of the latest Decapitated but with a more brutal and pronounced hardcore edge a la Mike DiSalvo. So all in all, it’s a bit of a swarming death metal experience, and it’s not long before some suitably discordant solo work and sweeps enter the fray. There are also some slower parts too though, and in this respect the first few tracks echo Pyrexia circa ‘System of the Animal’ thrown in a blender with (off the top of my head) Natron from Italy. ‘God the Government’ conforms to this analogy: constantly angry, with the rage magnified by a relatively short track length. With so much going busily on in each track, it’s more the case that aspects of songs stick out rather than their entirety – like the see-sawing riff and great section fifty seconds into ‘Reborn of a New Man’.
More of a hardcore orientated composition comes in the form of ‘Where the Dreams of Dreamed'(?!), with its metronomic bass drums and muscular riffing. However, even here we get the mandatory bit of jam-packed technicality added on. Somehow it sounds like these passages are bordering on messy despite the fact that the players are obviously not. (My theory is that it could be the high treble of the guitars clashing with the drums, which are really high in the mix. Although it’s not as if I know anything about the business of producing…) As the album continues, so too do the bouts of groove/rushes into fast technicality. With regard to the latter, another evident influence is Cryptopsy, although quite honestly, Killchain (like most) fail to emulate their heroes. ‘Deeds of Anxliously Hope'(…) stands out due to one particularly cool aside where winding riffs and double bass plug rapidly away, while closer ‘Where Is Your Saviour You Fucking Dog’ represents possibly the best overall arrangement on the disc.
All in all I find ‘Where Is Your Saviour’ to be fair enough. In terms of its mission statement, it fails to reach the heady heights of tech-death’s elite or the crushing, pummeling effect of say, Pyrexia. Moreover, it’s as if these two predominant styles cancel each other out. Before a hardcore chug can truly establish itself, some almost uncontrolled burst of mania interrupts, and vice-versa. That said, the album’s short and snappy enough that it never becomes frustrating. And one aspect you definitely can’t argue with is song titles like ‘Enjoy the Smell from Your Mouth’. Insane? You bet.