07 Aug 2021 - Daniel F.
Deathcore | Sumerian Records | Release date: 13 Aug 2021
I think it would be safe to assume that listening to Slaughter To Prevail is probably the closest thing to experiencing being hit by a train, without actually being hit by a train. When Slipknot released Iowa way back when, the predominant features were shocking heaviness, unbridled aggression and of course the absolute epitome of visceral vocals. Calling Kostolom Russia’s answer to Iowa may be a stretch too far, but there are certainly comparisons to be drawn, and all the signs of a future classic are present. There are plenty of Slipknot-isms on display, largely where the seemingly limitless energy is concerned, but Slaughter To Prevail have managed to bring shock factor into 2021.
This won’t come as any huge shock for most. Vocalist Alex Terrible has clocked up over 750,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, quickly becoming regarded as one of the most capable extreme vocalists in the game. The band have spent the past five years steamrolling their way into the limelight and are one of the fastest growing metal outfits on earth. Cleverly branded as uber-patriotic Russian deathcore, they offer so much more than the gimmick they present at face value. It isn’t all just tanks, rocket launchers and wrestling bears; here is a band with real substance and flair.
2021 feels like their year to hit the deathcore stratosphere, with the release of Kostolom now just around the corner and the echoes of its blast beats still ringing in bewildered critics’ ears. The first real difference from albums such as Iowa is that this record feels so calculated. This isn’t just a random outpouring of angst, it is structured, modern and sounds all the more devastating for it. Opening track ”Bonebreaker” quickly sets the tone. I felt myself mouthing ‘wow’ on several occasions at blast beats that skid along, and the way guitar rips right through the madness emphatically. We’ll dissect the vocals in a later paragraph, but spoiler alert; Oh. My. God.
This level of precision is something we’ve come to expect from modern bands, and Slaughter To Prevail bridge the gap perfectly between contemporary technicality and old school heavy-hitting. Echoes of the nu-metal golden era shine through in tracks such as ”Baba Yaga” - the guitar at times taking an almost grunge-like form. As if determined not to become typecast as just another heavy band, surprises lie at every turn, be it the form of overwhelming breakdowns or soaring solos that add integrity to each track.
Now, about those vocals. ”Zavali Ebalo” is as good a track as any to hone in on Alex’s expertise. He is almost animalistic in his approach. Often we talk about vocalists being inhuman in the way they lay down screams, but Alex takes this idea and runs with it, at times sounding outright demonic. In the blink of an eye he shifts from low, whispered growl to maniacal highs, constantly shifting his weight and fusing his voice within the music. This isn’t just cool deathcore with solid vocals over the top. This is intricate, and the two become one. It’s a hard skill to master, and the way Alex deploys his vocals is as impressive as his technique itself. Kostolom sees him exceeding his own towering expectations and helping move Slaughter Prevail ever closer to the list of all-time greats.
Helping to compliment the otherworldly vocals is equally impressive drumming. Cymbal flourishes and battering double kick combine to offer a performance that is as detailed as it is crushing. They pound through tracks like ”Bratva”, and are a huge part of the reason this album will dominate playlists this year, and in years to come. Slaughter To Prevail have nailed their colours to the mast with Kostolom. It is a huge statement from the Russians, eradicating any doubt that they could live up to expectation. It will release on 13th August to a backdrop of critical acclaim, and this band won’t look back.