Distant - Heritage (Century Media Records)
Deathcore: an extreme subgenre of hardcore and death metal that carried a nearly two decade long history of adoring fans and resentful metal purists. Pioneered as far back as the early 2000's and rapidly gaining popularity in the latter half of the decade and into the 2010's, much has changed over the years. Some of the biggest names went on to experiment with different musical elements, such as Whitechapel's The Valley. Others moved towards a different realm of extreme music, like black metal, as seen in recent Carnifex albums.
Yet, the beast of deathcore is far from dead. On the contrary, it is perhaps more fierce and hideous than ever before. For proof, consider Heritage, the third album from Dutch/Slovak heavy hitters, Distant. Formed in 2014, Distant is of the same generation of deathcore bands as Enterprise Earth, Signs of the Swarm, and Shadow of Intent, and, as with all of these bands, their mission is to push the limits of the genre further than ever before.
Over the course of twelve tracks, Heritage delivers wave after wave of intoxicating grooves ("Paradigm Shift"), punishing slams ("Born Of Blood"), and terrifying dissonance ("Human Scum"). Even with the occasional pause between breakdowns, rarely is there any time to breathe. Songs such as "A Sentence To Suffer" and the title track are simply designed to melt faces from start to finish.
Yet, the hallmark of the album, and maybe even one of the most ambitious deathcore works to date, is "Argent Justice". At seven minutes in length, the song features guest appearances from Eddie Hermida (Suicide Silence/ex-All Shall Perish), Frankie Palmeri (Emmure), and fourteen (yes, 1-4) additional vocalists representing ten other incredible bands. With each vocalist delivering a unique style, it is as though the voices of Hell's wickedest demons are pouring into your ears.
As Distant continues to carve their name into the history of deathcore, one can only imagine what their next great work will be. Twenty five vocalists? Maybe more? With the notes of "Argent Justice" still ringing in the ears of fans around the world, the future of the Rotterdam/Bratislava based unit is certainly bright.
The Metal Mayan review:
I've said it once and I'll say it again: sometimes the cover art is all you need to know about a band to understand you're in for something intense. I know for sure that, if I were fourteen again and saw this album in my local store, I would absolutely have to buy it. The artwork alone sums up a lot about the music - it's brutal, experimental, and leaves you wanting more.
In the last couple of years, there seems to be a deathcore renaissance of sorts going on where bands that led the way in the early years are finding new fans, and bands that have been paying their dues for about a decade are at last getting their overdue props. I would consider Distant among those bands.
Kicking off their next U.S. tour in the first week of March alongside Bodysnatcher, Angelmaker, and Paleface, the question remains: will "Argent Justice" make an appearance in the set? While some of the other vocalists are missing, all three of these bands contributed to the track leading to a perfect opportunity to have them join Distance onstage for a performance.
Maybe Frankie Palmeri will come down to The Brooklyn Monarch when the tour roles into town? One can hope!
Visit your favorite record store and pick up Heritage, out now on Century Media Records.
Advance copy courtesy of Breaking the Law PR and Century Media Records