Horror Within
Awaiting Extinction

Behind the scenes here at Teeth of the Divine, we’ve often discussed what the next chapter of Deathcore is going to look like. Thanks to Lorna Shore‘s insane (and well-deserved) popularity, we all know that the whole Blackened/Symphonic Deathcore thing being the latest style du jour that everyone and their brothers, parents, cousins, and dogs seem to be getting in on these days.

And that’s fine! It’s a subgenre that continues to push the levels of technicality, heaviness, and just the overall possibilities of epicness  that continue to completely boggle and, oftentimes, overwhelm my dumb little mind. But like all good things, there always seems to be a limit to how far you can go before it all inevitably becomes almost a caricature of itself. There comes a time when the pendulum has to come careening back in the other direction.

To that end, I think there’s a chance here that France’s Horror Within may just provide a pathway to Deathcore’s newest mutation, and goddamn if I’m not all the way here for it.

Where the Lorna Shore‘s and Worm Shepherd‘s of the world are bringing levels of outright technicality and sinister, almost clinical evil to the plate – Horror Within is only here to bring the pure filth. Imagine if Entombed or Dismember had formed in like, 2018, had funny-looking haircuts, gauged ears and rocked prerequisite sleeve tats. We’re talking honest-to-goodness HM-2 drenched Swedish Death riffs with the levels of groove and you’d expect, taken to another level of crushing heft with the addition of billion-pound-hammer breakdowns, and even some other more predominantly early 00’s Metalcore elements that pop in and take you by surprise in the best possible way.

That said, the band does kick things off with what could be something of a troll job. You take a look at the cosmic-horror themed album cover, that logo, and you think “OK, more Blackened Deathcore. Fine, I guess.” Then on the album’s first proper track, “The Ending Process,” the band comes bursting out with a hyper-sonic, blasting, tremolo-picked attack, and you say to yourself, “Uh huh. Yep. Sure.”  But then, 24 seconds in, you hear something very out-of-place – a distinct crunch of hitting a brick wall. That whole blackened thing? It’s gone, buck-O, and it’s not even coming back again. POOF! Gone. It’s seriously like the band was intentionally pulling a “PSYCH!” and if that’s true, frankly, I’m all for it, because suddenly, it’s friggin’ 1990 and you’re blasting Carnage‘s Dark Recollections in your Pontiac Fiero.   It’s a doozy of a riff, providing a killer backbone for vocalist Maxime Roos’ deep, bellowing growls.

Things stay on a relatively straightforward, rumbling Swedish Death attack for a stretch, before the band suddenly busts out a super melodic, tapped lead ala Killswitch or Dead to Fall, except the rhythm guitar underneath is still crunching away on the HM-2. It’s a pretty trippy combination that weirdly… works? Anyway, this section fades out, right before the band returns with it’s first proper breakdown that’s super simple, but goddamn if it won’t knock you right in the face. They even do that whole “play the breakdown, then play it again, slower… then one more time, even slower” thing that has taken over all of modern Deathcore. Exhilarating!

The remainder of this short album (it could be and EP) follows a similar if slightly more straightforward formula. They’re mostly done playing funny tricks on the listener, and instead just leans right into whatever the hell it is you want to call this… Swedish Death(metal)core? HM-2Core? BuzzCore? Somebody will come up with something more pithy, I’m sure.

“Ceremonial Vortex” starts off with a punishing riff that somehow bridges the gap between As Hope Dies and Unleashed, until midway through when the band again decides to just go completely classic Swede Death. They do throw in a sweet little Metalcore breakdown with layered, monastic vocals that sounds super eerie and unsettling. I’m a little more prepared for the slight curve this time around, and the band does a really nice job of transitioning into it without sounding out-of-place.

“We Came From Above” features, frankly, one of the best churning HM-2 riffs you’ll hear all year, grinding away at your ears like blood-and-guts greased battle tank with groove after groove after decimating groove. As for those Deathcore beatdowns, you’ll find none finer than the two on “L’Horreur en Moi,” announced appropriately with the hit of a bell ride fill before pummeling you out of existence.

Given the mix of ideas being thrown together on Awaiting Extinction, it could have very easily come across as a band unsure of what exactly they wanted to be – but instead they pull it off with gusto and really sounds like a band confident in what they’re offering – providing a unique opportunity to in turns ride a wave of Death metal nostalgia, and enjoy something that sounds thoroughly modern and of this time. If this is the start of a new trend in Metal and, more specifically, Deathcore, then bring this new era on ASAP. In the meantime, I can’t recommend enough you get your hands on this sweet little EP pronto.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
July 22nd, 2022

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