Cianide
Unhumanized EP

Popularity and/or notoriety are definitely elusive attributes when it comes to extreme metal trying to branch out to a larger audience. Trying to build a band legacy while making an actual financial living from it is indeed the epitome of extreme metal being a ruthless and fickle bitch. What is it that gains one artist success, garnering critical attention, fanfare and even prosperity; while another act, whom may be more talented and educated in their musical prowess, resides in the minor leagues for most of, if not all, their entire career? Case in point, Cianide, and their brand of barbaric, brutal, beastial bludgeonings of death metal rage that have been consistently pummeling listeners for thirty years.

Okay, I’ll admit that the Chicago, Illinois’ band isn’t some virtuoistic act of progressiveness, but the reality of a band, say Slipknot, having millions of fans and album sales to boot, while a thirty year veteran act still remains somewhat, if not largely, unnoticed, unheard, and undiscovered by many fans of bonafide, real deal death metal seems more than being a matter of “being in the right place at the right time” or a situation of “those are the breaks”. No, it seems simply wrong. And I’m not talking 2+2=5 wrong, I’m talking about the “Oh shit! The hot girl has a teenie weenie”! type of wrong…Whatever the cases for the imbalance of fairness when it comes to the factors of success for metal musicians, I’m willing to bet that Cianide truly couldn’t care less at this point in their careers. At their age, these guys know that being successful doesn’t translate into popularity and riches. Regardless, the death dealing trio have thrown out quite a tasty little slab of brutality with their new five track rager of an EP, Unhumanized.

“Serpent’s Wake” wastes little time building up and unleashing the old school death metal crush Cianide is known for, if you’re familiar with the band, then you know exactly the “crush” I reference. Those of you that may be newcomers can expect a damn fine mixture of  old school sounds the likes of Autopsy, Incantation, Massacre, Asphyx, Master, and so on. Imagine if Paul Speckmann(Master), John McEntee(Incanation), and Bob Bagchus(Asphyx) got together to raise some hell and you’ll know the type of destruction that Cianide deliver. The track delivers a fantastic evil eeriness in the almost dissonant bending riffge that pops up at the 1:47 mark, as well as some top notch Morbid Angel/Incantation vibes in the gooey lurch that crops up around the song’s midpoint. The slower riffage really brings a nice contrast to the track and a straight up punishing feel.

That punishment continues through the EP’s title track and “Weapon of Curse”. The former showcasing a slower dirge of doomy death mixed nicely with a bit of double time, old school flavored d-beat, while the latter provides some quality mid-tempoed beatdowns of late ’80’s/early ’90’s death fueled bliss. The wonderfully ugly influence of Master rears its mighty head in “Traitors”, the song is shorter, faster, straight forward and in your face, and could have easily fit in thirty plus years ago as well as it does today. Closing out Unhumanized, “Shadow of the Claw” takes that slower doomy death dirge of brutalness found on the EP’s title track and maximizes it to its fullest effect. The track is low, slow and can break your back from the sheer heaviness found in its riffing, plus it shows what Black Sabbath may have sounded like remagined as an actual death metal band.

Grade A and damn fine doom laden death metal is what Cianide serves up with this EP offering. Hell, lets be honest, at just a few seconds shy of being twenty-six minutes in length, Unhumanized is just one short track away from being a proper full-length; at least when using the Glen Benton approved Metal Measurement Chart. All in all, Cianide do what they’ve always done when it comes to Unhumanized, and that’s deliver first class old school brutality. The kind of brutality that still tooks its cues from Celtic Frost and marveled at the double bass foot-work of Bill Andrews(Death/Massacre). If I had one complaint with Unhumanized, I’d say that the band delivered the EP’s highlight with opener “Serpent’s Wake”, but that really just boils down to my personal taste and not merited in any real or tangible bad quality that can be attributed to the band or the release, so there ya go…No harm, no foul, Winner winer chicken dinner, this fucker slays, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
February 21st, 2020

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