COLDWORKER
"The Doomsayer's Call"

(Listenable)

01. A New Era
02. The Reprobate
03. The Glass Envelope
04. Flesh World
05. Murderous
06. Pessimist
07. Monochrome Existence
08. Vacuum Fields
09. Living is Suffering
10. The Walls of Eryx
11. Violent Society
12. Becoming the Stench
13. The Phantom Carriage

RATING: 7.5/10

For a band as typically full-throttle as COLDWORKER, it was an interesting strategic choice to open "The Doomsayer's Call" with "A New Era". A gritty, grim slow build of a tune, it serves as an extended intro, a long fuse lit before the precision grind lockstep kicks in. It makes you take notice, where launching right into the speedy assault of "The Reprobate" might have rendered the whole blurry blosh redundant well before the end of the thirteen tracks enclosed herein.

And it is easy, this far into the evolution of extreme metal, and in this age where you can digitally sculpt the lightest snare tap and most half-assed guitar slop into mechanized grindcore fury, to dismiss a band like COLDWORKER. They don't attempt to be anything but brutal as hell, but they do it with varying tempos and a few shiny flashes here and there (the solo in "Flesh World" has quite a bit of atmosphere to it), shifts between blast beats and d-beat polka, sounding like nothing so much as one of those speed-at-all-costs breakneck thrash bands of the late 90's like DEFLESHED as channeled through the modern grind sensibilities of NASUM or current NAPALM DEATH.

To be clear, there's almost zero innovation here. But even if you feel like you've heard some of these riffs before, they still sound urgent and dramatic here, and the fluid dynamics of a song like "Monochrome Existence" make it compelling and exciting. Dissect it and you'll see what I mean — the intro out of an 80's hardcore song, but with a few speed picking runs thrown in to add tension, then the grinding verse, then a thrashing chorus with a little more blasting here and there for emphasis. The midtempo section three minutes in would be unremarkable on its own, were it not a left turn from the speedier tempos, and a setup to launch back into the fast stuff at 4:25 or so.

Man, when you break it down like that, COLDWORKER sounds like they just live or die by shifting gears. And they kinda do. This is rhythm and speed, with precious few melodic licks, uniformly barked vocals, and a vibe that gets under your skin with a small, but potent, arsenal of barbed riffs and razorwire-tight changes. They sell it with pure adrenaline and conviction, mainlining you with blunt aggression, and they bury their hooks in your cerebrum with just enough songwriting to keep you on your toes. Clean, clear, steely grind with chops galore, the right amount of breathing space, and scads of riffs that'll bring out the ol' primal urge to smash the shit out of shit.

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