Contempt for a Failed Dimension

Once upon a time, back in the early days of extreme metal, geographical location seemed to play quite a significant role when it came to describing and/or making a statement about one’s band. Not that it still doesn’t, but nowadays, influence is globally well traversed and those stylistic tropes just don’t ring as true or obvious as they once did. Hell, back in the day, all one had to say was Swedish Death Metal and I would be like, “you son of a bitch, I’m in!”. Of course, I was also “in” whether it was Floridian, New York, Gothenburg, Scandinavian, and pretty much everything in between. This brings me to the lesser-mentioned, though no less crushing, Midwest Death Metal scene.

That midwestern sound was something special, my friends. Coming off more than just a mixture of the New York and Floridian scenes, the bands from the said area were just a tad gnarlier. A bit denser, if you will, with a grimy, greasy sheen of darkness and sinister inklings within their brutality and various degrees of technical prowess. From Broken Hope, Gutted, Morta Skuld, Oppressor, Jungle Rot, and even Incantation (at least for a time), just to name a few, the Midwest sound has been one of the stellar artists and uncompromising albums.

To this day the scene still permeates with brutal greatness. Helping contribute more than their own fair share to all of it is Cincinnati’s own multi-instrumentalists and vocalists, Ash Thomas and Zdenka Prado. Whether playing in their own acts (Faithxtractor, & Estuary) or being part of another’s collective whole, together and individually, (Acheron, Shed the Skin, Surgikill, and others), the two have been essential in their scene’s longevity in the 21st century as well as a few other cities’ scenes. Having recently just released their fourth full-length album, which hasn’t received nearly enough attention, Contempt for a Failed Dimension sees Thomas and Prado scaling Faithxtractor down to a two-piece as guitarist, Cody Knarr is no longer with the group.

No disrespect intended, but Knarr’s departure hasn’t hurt the band in any way, shape, or form. In fact, this may just be the best release from Faithxtractor yet. With a clear, yet thoroughly brutal sound, the band has that perfect balance and appeal that reins in metal fans from all walks of life. Whether you have a proclivity towards old-school death metal, tech/progressive death metal, deathcore, or just something that is from the more “modern” age, so to speak, doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to Faithxtractor. They know what they like, and they do what they want, and their songwriting shows it in spades. The thing is, no matter where your musical tastes and styles lay, I guarantee you that Contempt for a Failed Dimension will bore itself into your brain and please you every moment it does so.

If you’re unfamiliar with the band, then imagine a lethal dose of acts like Incantation, Shed the Skin, Cancer, Estuary, Disincarnate, and maybe even a bit of a Benediction influence, and you are going to be somewhat close to what Faithxtractor bring to the table. Just check out tracks like the ripping album opener, “ Vomiting Proclamation”, and its blazing Hate Eternal-like pace and furious fingerwork, or the fat evil grooves and catchy licks, of “Life Abnegation”. The latter provides some subtle, but most effective synth work that kind of brings to mind a bit of a Fear Factory essence, plus the tempo changes are fantastic. Speaking of fantastic tempo changes, one need look no further than the change up at the 1:30 mark of  “The Blood that Seethes”. The simple yet effective slow-down chug and tremolo are divine and could have been ridden out just a bit more for my liking.

While all of Contempt for a Failed Dimension‘s songs are worthy of your time, it’s in “Revenge Void Asphyxia” and “ On Every Breath…a Curse” that I find my album favorites. The former reigning like the second coming of Incantation with its doomy death metal aplomb that changes over to a flattening pace shortly after the two-minute mark. The song is a bonafide bruiser; organic and earthy in its sinister driving force, yet with a clear and properly hefty production. The track transitioning back to a bit of the slower, doomier side of things, eventually, runs its course in a most perfect way. “On Every Breath…a Curse” we’re treated with more fantastic doomy death that rides a few different tempos and is full of licks and leads of nimbleness that can draw out some great emotions, as well as nasty metal faces. The track has a stellar darkened melody and vibe that, more than once, evokes a sound of Incantation meeting Paradise Lost. Simply excellent.

Closing out Contempt for a Failed Dimension, with what may just be one of the best Sepultura covers I have ever heard, is “EotD”…aka, “Empire of the Damned”. Faithxtractor due more than justice to this ripper of a song, not only paying excellent homage to one of the greats but managing to make it feel like one of their own as well. Not to mention, the cover really shows how heavy and extreme that early Sepultura stuff really was. Too damn cool.

Personally, I’m really glad that Faithxtractor has kept things going into this fourth full-length. I first heard of both Thomas and Prado, back in the day, in a Metal Maniacs article for their then-current Estuary album, and thought it sounded right up my alley. A year later, I caught Estuary on tour with Master, where Thomas gave me a copy of the first Faithxtractor album, Razing the World of Myth, I’ve been a fan and follower ever since. Hell, he and Zdenka ended up being directly in front of me, as we waited in line for last year’s Maryland Deathfest, and they were both still as laidback and congenial as I remembered from years earlier.

So there you have it folks, a terrific death metal album that shines on many fronts, with great songwriting, stellar leads, fantastic varied vocals, riffs and bass that collide in mountain-leveling heaviness, and drums that drive and actually have depth and feeling. As I said earlier, Faithxtractor will bore itself into your brain, and you’re going to love it. So, what are you waiting for?  Get on it!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
January 1st, 2023


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