Formed in 2004 as a metal influenced hardcore band, the Belgians of Resistance have gradually morphed their music from that genre to more of an extreme metal realm. Five albums in now, ‘The Seeds Within’ is described by the band’s label as “more brutal, more aggressive and heavier than ever.” Aside from lyrics which deal with reality and the cowardice of the human race, the band appears to have all but jettisoned its roots.
‘Cross the River’ fades gustily in before evolving into a burst of structured, angular death metal. As this fiery opener unfolds, the shifts in pace and rhythm – and sound generally – call to mind the likes of Sinister as well as most things brutal from the US. Second track ‘The Underworld’ arrives more methodically with guitars going from speaker to speaker before a mix of Cannibal Corpse and conventionally choppy riffs/blasts take hold. An atypical part of the openers is that brand of gurgly screaming which pops up before trailing off in pain. Otherwise, a lot of what is happening seems to point to Resistance still straddling the conventions of two genres albeit with the outward appearance very much geared to everything deathly. To reinforce this point, ‘Darkness Arise’ is a pleasing enough chug-fest although the repetitive “six-six-six” lyrics are frankly unimpressive, while aspects such as the lack of down-tuning point to the reality that the band began its existence dedicated to another style.
Continuing the predilection for death metal generics is ‘Diabolical Obsessions’ in which the word “possession” is repeatedly barked out. On the plus side, we do get a whacky solo and death metal which clatters away as if it’s coming unstuck; not to mention a breakdown which stylishly shifts up the gears again. One of the more distinct tracks to come out of it all is ‘The Seeds Within’. Another slow builder, it incorporates tones which we haven’t so far heard in the guitar work – from ominous lingering ones to layered black metal styled riffs. And again, ‘Purgatory’ enhances the usual choppy riffs and hardcore undertones with some At The Gates riffing. A perhaps greater indication of what inspired Resistance to up the extremity in their music is ‘Apocalypse’. Initially the vocals reminded me of my live exposure to The Black Dahlia Murder before parts of the music (not those great Aborted bits) began to evoke the thought of that band’s deathcore support acts.
To be fair to Resistance, there is overwhelmingly more of an ambition to play US death metal styled brutality than exist as some watered down deathcore act. However, their song-writing and sound just don’t have that cohesive edge which the best brutal death metal acts exude so effortlessly. Throughout the album there are decent ideas – with a few great – but it’s like a patchwork of these sewn together with an equal amount of purely generic/diluted ones. Closer ‘Antithesis’ sums up the record as a whole for me: more of the same, which, at best, is pretty good.