Downfall of Mankind
Vile Birth

You don’t want to know what I had to do to get a deathcore review from the hands of the boss man, but I’m going to tell you anyway. I won the first annual Teeth of the Divine Knife Fight Championships. Whether he was a willing or knowing participant is irrelevant. I still won and got what I wanted, as well as an order of protection and a criminal record. Some people just don’t understand passion and the willingness to do whatever it takes to win.

I think Downfall of Mankind do, as this Portuguese deathcore outfit is out to prove on their debut album, Vile Birth. Let’s be clear from the start. If you’re not into the recent symphonic deathcore resurgence, then you can stop reading…

Still here? Good. So, the question isn’t if they do something unique, but it’s if they bring the songs. The short answer is “yes…” After brief music box intro, “Beneath the Aftermath,” gets going with some suitably brutal vocals, including highs, lows, and of course the “brees.” Not Drew. What stands out is the chunkiness of the riff production and the excellent, yet subtle use of keys and choral, angelic vocals in the latter half.

Something that’s immediately apparent if you go through the track listing is the guest appearances. This is becoming a normal occurrence in the scene as it happens on 4 of the 9 tracks. Of note is an appearance by Julien Truchan of bree favorite, Benighted on track 4, “Vile Birth.” Besides the appearance itself, this track has a catchy guitar harmony and of course the use of some subtle keys. I must admit if you didn’t read his name on the track, you probably wouldn’t notice Julien’s presence.

Next up on the guest appearance list is on track 6, “For I am Terror,” which has Kyle Anderson of the much hyped, yet still somehow underrated Brand of Sacrifice, one of the best front men in the scene along with Ben Duerr of Shadow of Intent. This track has more of a metalcore than deathcore chug. Yeah, I know that’s semantics. Maybe it’s because I recognize his voice, but his appearance stands out a little more. Overall, though, the track is a lot of the same with the subtle, well-placed keys, and it brings the brutality suitably.

The next track, “Maker’s Funeral,” stands out. It’s a little heavier than the rest up to this point and has a hardcore stomp. It’s also very easy to hear that bass rumbling in the background. The keys throughout are once again very subtle. Maybe it’s that hardcore “BLECH” that does it for me.

To close out the album, there’s another guest. This time it’s Luis Diaz of Counteractt, which I must admit is a band whose path I have yet to cross. That metalcore chug is back near the end, but the rest is a suitably driving deathcore track.

This is a fun, solid debut from Downfall of Mankind. It’s one of the better symphonic deathcore releases from this year, but that’s the rub. If the past two years were a towel, it would be so saturated that you would need to seriously just wash that fucking gross towel, man! It’s becoming very difficult to distinguish between bands. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the style, but I’m wondering how much longer this can last. Luckily, for now, I do still find enjoyment in the style, and Downfall of Mankind is a damn fine example.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 12th, 2022

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