I discovered Long Island, NY’s Heisenberg recently while trawling Bandcamp for new bands. I was immediately drawn to them because they took two of my favorite things, Breaking Bad and ignorant slamming death metal and mashed them up to great effect. Although I’m not entirely sure if Walter White would approve of their guttural brutality, here at Doomsday Device I can safely say that their latest EP The Empire Business is one of the most engaging pure slam releases I’ve heard in a long time.
What makes Heisenberg great is that they take their music seriously, but don’t take themselves too seriously, if that makes any sense at all. The trio writes catchy, dynamic slamming death metal songs, but they aren’t afraid to inject the carnage they create with some moments of levity, such as the samples of Breaking Bad character Jesse Pinkman yelling “Where’s my money, bitch?!” and singing “Fallacies” (a song by Jesse’s fictional band). But don’t mistake Heisenberg’s sense of humor for weakness; The Empire Business is still as heavy and brutal as they come, battering the listener into submission with a barrage of thick grooves and skull shattering slams.
Production-wise, The Empire Business is nasty and rough around the edges (just as slam should be), but it isn’t as lo-fi gnarly as say, Gorevent or oldschool Devourment. There’s enough bottom end in the mix to make the multitude of slams sound sufficiently crushing, but also enough clarity to allow the listener to hear what each instrument is doing. The vocals are placed far enough back that they never overwhelm the music and are much more diverse than the typical slam gurgling, reminding a bit of Dying Fetus’ John Gallagher. To be sure, Heisenberg’s sonic recipe for all-out brutality is a potent one.
The Empire Business is only Heisenberg’s second release, but the young band has already come a long way towards carving out a place for themselves amongst slamming death metal’s elite. It’s heavy, brutal, gross and humorous; you can’t ask for much more than that.
FYI: Heisenberg’s self-titled debut EP is also well worth checking out and was re-released late last year by Amputated Vein.