Brain Stem
Symptoms of Annihilation - Stage 2 EP

I said it before and I’ll say it again, if you or your PR folks go through the time and effort to send me a physical CD, there is a pretty good chance I’ll review it. If I don’t its normally due to the old adage about saying something nice. Even if the CD is a 4 song, 16 minute EP of pretty basic, no frills death metal.

When you think of Canadian death metal, you usually think of the technical vortexes of Gorguts, Neuraxis, Archspire, Beneath the Massacre, First Fragment and such, but Alberta’s Brain Stem are old school American/Floridian death meal to the core.  Simple, effective and rooted in the late 80s early 90s sound of yore, the sound on Symptoms of Annihilation – Stage 2 is chunky riffs, blasts, throaty shouts and rasps and nothing superfluous. And I can’t imagine that much has changed from Symptoms of Annihilation – Stage 1, which I have not heard.

That all said, I’m not exactly clamoring for more, or craving a stage 3, though there are some decent riffs here and there, notably the churning close of “The Unspoken Ire” or the pretty cool chunky riff in closer “Dawn of Rot”.  It’s decently produced, well played and certainly wears its influences on its Malevolent Creation/Morbid Angel/Deicide/ Possessed/Obituary baring sleeve.

If these guys can come up with more material like “Dawn of Rot”, they might be worth keeping an eye on, as there is some musty but modern sightly technical promise here, but they will have to deliver a lot more quality and quantity to be a force in the Canadian death metal scene.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 6th, 2020

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