Diluvian - Epidemic
Deepsend Records
11 songs (43 minutes)
Release year: 2009
Deepsend Records
Reviewed by Jake
Archive review

The first minute-ten of Diluvian's Epidemic--a 2009 release I found lingering unclaimed at the bottom of the MetalReviews promo list--is a thing of beauty, a master class in atmosphere through escalation. It opens on a sound effect of murmurs and church bells, the words eerily unintelligible, before a creepy, melodic, clean-guitar riff slowly fades in. After just a few measures, a brief but massive drum fill gives way to the expected but perfectly pulled-off explosion into distortion, with the same riff played by one guitar, then two, as a vocal roar and wild drum fills give way to a blastbeast that sustains the momentum until the first riff change and a quick a bass break throw us into the verse. Basic stuff, but with more than solid riffwork, and supremely well-structured; not an iota of the creepy mood of that intro is lost, even as the riffs get faster and faster, less and less melodic. Epidemic never gets quite that awesome again, but it never really needs to; its mix of brutality and melody is well-balanced enough, and the band have such a steady hand with momentum management, that the atmosphere from those first seconds hangs over the whole 45-minute album, making even the more forgettable songs moving on a full run-through.

Deathcore takes a lot of shit, and often rightly; it tends to share some offensive elements with its parent genre, the widely reviled but amazingly prevalent metalcore. But Diluvian does a lot to overcome that bias; its songwriting isn't unduly formulaic, its production is clear but not commercially slick, and the technicality of the riffs and brutality of the drumming give it real menace. Only once, on You're Wretched, does it break down into that irritating sputtering-engine riff that seems to be in every deathcore song. Most importantly, that gloomy atmosphere hanging over the thing is genuinely dark, not angsty. There's emotion here, but it's not adolescent moodiness. These riffs never whine.

The first half of the album generally contains inspired riffs, and its structures continually demand attention and keep it lively. The last half packs a bit less of a punch, but it's less because the songwriting gets worse and more because of a general samey-sounding-ness that starts to take its toll, though not enough that the album ever gets completely boring. Taken individually, almost any of these 11 songs, with their catchy grooves, heavy atmosphere and thrash-like ability to accent and punctuate, are likely to make a strong impression. Consider Epidemic recommended by a guy who hates deathcore.

Killing Songs :
Epidemic, Five Nails Through the Head (not to be confused, of course, with Cannibal Corpse's Five Nails Through the Neck)
Jake quoted 85 / 100
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