ALL SHALL PERISH
"Hate.Malice.Revenge"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Deconstruction
02. Laid to Rest
03. Our Own Grave
04. The Spreading Disease
05. Sever the Memory
06. For Far too long...
07. Never Ending War
08. Herding the Brainwashed

RATING: 7/10

Much is made of the mixing of hardcore and death or thrash metal, the term "metalcore" being beaten into the ground by critics and fans alike. At some point, you've got to look at it as nothing more than a band's influences coming together and being realized through the music that is created. I happen to be a fan of both hardcore and death metal and when the mix is done right the result can be especially crushing. In the case of the Bay Area's ALL SHALL PERISH, "Hate.Malice.Revenge" sounds to me like a death metal band whose members are also fans of hardcore. My point is that the bludgeoning fare on said disc does not come off sounding like another bandwagon-jumping metalcore act.

That particular word, "bludgeoning," is the first that came to mind when listening to the eight tracks and 36 minutes that make up "Hate.Malice.Revenge". The mix is an attention-grabber as well; the dense sound includes a beefy bottom end and riffs that weigh a ton. I wouldn't say the compositions are predictable, but there does seem to be a pattern in the way the band mixes breakdown chug with double-bass speed crush, often with tasteful guitar harmonies soaring overhead. In this case, "predictable" doesn't equate to "stale." To pick a couple of tracks, on "Our Own Grave" and "The Spreading Disease" the combination is a smashing success. The melodic, though far from bright and shiny, lead work of guitarists Beniko Orum and Caysen Russo keep the songs from bogging down in death metal overkill. The duo's melody-laced sections on "Laid to Rest" build tension nicely before the concussion blow hits. And let's not forget the appearance of the SLAYER-esque lick on "Never Ending War" (yeah, I know, everyone's doing it).

In another case of an unoriginal idea that happens to work well, vocals that are dominated by abrasive mid-register screams and punctuated by death growls (I assume lead vocalist Craig Betit in the latter case, guitarist Caysen Russo in the former) are anything but a jumbled mess. No awards will be given for best vocal, only a pat on the back for a job well done.

Tough guy stomp and circumstance is the order of the day on "Hate.Malice.Revenge". Fortunately, the guys in ALL SHALL PERISH keep it interesting. If you're looking for an approach that effortlessly combines death metal brutality with breakdown-happy hardcore, look no further.

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