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Succumb - XXI review

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Band: Succumb
Album: XXI
Release date: September 2021

01. Lilim
02. Maenad
03. Okeanos
04. Smoke
05. Graal
06. Aither
07. Soma
08. 8 Trigrams

I'm sorry, I cannot think of Succumb without also thinking of... uhh...

Awful memes aside, Succumb's self-titled debut from a couple of years ago was one of the most promising death metal debuts in recent memory, showcasing a band less interested in just trailing the OSDM path. There's no shortage of death metal bands already playing around with doom metal, hardcore and black metal, but the way that Succumb crafted their sound around these has made them fairly unique. Everything from the vocals to the blend of sounds to the killer songwriting promised that these would get honed even better in a follow-up. And four years later, here it is. To say that I've been anticipating this is an understatement.

The most make-it-or-break-it thing about Succumb's music, and probably the reason why their debut has such a ridiculously low rating here, is the vocals. Let's say that Cheri Musrasrik's vocal performance is not something you usually hear in a death metal band, seemingly more fit for something like hardcore or sludge, but I guess that was precisely part of the appeal for me. Bassist Kirk Spaseff also contributes some vocals, with his growls giving the album an even more multi-dimensional vocal field. And in some way, Cheri's vocals are pretty "clean". And I have to say that there are clean vocals, I mean something more akin to howls and snarls, nasty vocals but distinct enough from the "unclean" growls. You'll know it when you hear it.

The music itself feels a lot more dissonant and chaotic than previously. Somehow the upped mathcore dimension of the record makes Cheri's vocals fit even better compared to the more straight-forwardness of the debut. And it XXI is more chaotic, that doesn't mean that Succumb aren't clearly in control of their sound, switching between dissonant noise to pummeling riffing to quasi-blackened atmosphere with ease. It's hard to pinpoint an element that ties it together, whether the commanding vocal presence, the riffing, or the insane drum performance from Harry Cantwell, but XXI's ambition in songwriting should make it fall apart, but it doesn't. Hell, you even have "Graal", which is not content with just the blackened and the hardcore additions, but it slowly descends into Godflesh hell too, before promptly amping the powerviolence chaos again.

It's basically an improvement on all fronts: the production suits it, the performances are insane all around, and the songwriting might be a bit too all-over-the-place at first glance, but repeated listens have cemented it as one of the most memorable experiments in chaos.

Written on 10.10.2021 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 108 users
10.10.2021 - 11:48
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Is it mushroom or penis on artwork, i dont see so well from mobile
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
10.10.2021 - 11:59
Written by Bad English on 10.10.2021 at 11:48

Is it mushroom or penis on artwork, i dont see so well from mobile

Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

2021 goodies
10.10.2021 - 21:12
Cynic Metalhead
Nasha Vich Paisa
Written by Bad English on 10.10.2021 at 11:48

Is it mushroom or penis on artwork

I think it's a banana hitting puberty.
14.10.2021 - 23:42
The only thing I like about this album is the cover. It's pretty cool. The vocals are not as annoying to me as they were on the debut (she has definitely tried to make them sound a little more "usual").

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