Monday, 30 October 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: DeathCrawl - "Acceptable Level of Misery"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 27/10/2017
Label: Independent

Although DeathCrawl is undeniably vicious, what makes it good and, more importantly, not annoyingly divergent for divergent's sake, is that it never strays too far from the essence of what it does best, delivering 8 tracks of impenetrable doom, and this album is a timely reminder that one of Cleveland's finest bands are back in business.

"Acceptable Level of Misery" CD//DD track listing

1. False Oracle
2. Zenith
3. Universally Diminished
4. Entombed By All The Things We Seek
5. Corrupted Earth
6. No Good At Living
7. Derelict
8. Perpetually Damned

The Review:

Cleveland's DeathCrawl has developed major below the surface buzz for its brand of brutal sludge. Although its output has been slight (with 2008 debut, "The End Is Not Near Enough," the 2010 EP "This Is the Way the World Ends..." and the sophomore full length "Accelerated Rate of Decay" in 2012 to its credit), live shows and a regional renown have made it a Midwest force to be reckoned with.

DeathCrawl, the vehicle of Damon Gregg, Dave Johnson and Jason Luchka, is back with its first release in half a decade. "Acceptable Level of Misery." The trio, veterans of a string of local acts, have cemented their reputation by forging sludge mixed with grindcore, crust and progressive metal. If that seems like an entrancing hybrid, it is. Add to that DeathCrawl share vocal duties among band members, and you encounter a crew that is quite different in many respects.

Although DeathCrawl is undeniably musically vicious, what makes it good and, more importantly, not annoyingly divergent for divergent's sake, is that it never strays too far from the essence of what it does best. The group stretches its creative muscles at many turns, but its members do not get too experimental and risk the listening experience. Thus as opener "False Oracle" smashes you with hardcore, the doom roots of it are never far away. As with "Zenith," there's a bit of grind there, but the doom-nested bass remains prominent. The heavy pendulum swings back to sludge by "Universally Diminished," while welcoming progressive metal to its fold.

Much has been written about DeathCrawl's multi-vocalist attack. If you are not as familiar with the group given its discography, but have heard other performers employ more than one or even two vocalists, the number of looks it gives this band is especially interesting. Each singer has a very individual style, and so the progressive tracks get the right treatment, just as the harder cuts get the singing and/or growling needed to pull of the best cuts possible. DeathCrawl make a statement with entries like "Corrupted Earth," with clean vocal, and "No Good At Living," which blends a snarling lead with a more full-throated singing accompaniment. Again, its diversity for the sake of making better music, as opposed to the malady afflicting a few releases, where groups change it up for no discernible reason.

DeathCrawl's solid return wraps up with "Derelict," a melodic doom metal track, and "Perpetually Damned," which hoes some of the same fields the opener did, almost bookending "Acceptable Level of Misery" in some ways. Both tracks are impenetrable doom, and remind you some of Cleveland's finest are back in business.

"Acceptable Level of Misery" is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook