Those of you that follow the brutal/slam death metal scene are likely well aware of the fact that Asia has been positively killing it for the last few years. While many of the continent’s most celebrated acts hail from Japan (Vomit Remnants, Gorevent, Infernal Revulsion, Medic Vomiting Pus, etc), neighboring China is no slouch either, as evidenced by Deformity of Human Consciousness, the second album from Tianjin’s The Dark Prison Massacre.
To put it bluntly, the quintet have crafted one of the catchiest and most original-sounding slam albums of the past few years, pulling in groove metal and even nu metal influences; they go so far as to cover Korn’s “Faget” to surprisingly great results, and some of the grooves laid down on tracks such as “Illusion of Withering” and “Despite of Desolation” wouldn’t be out of place on a Machine Head album. The band isn’t afraid to take the best parts of the genres they likely grew up on and make them their own, filtering them through the over-the-top, pit-heaving heaviness of slamming brutal death metal.
As if that weren’t enough, The Dark Prison Massacre successfully blends the sounds of traditional Asian music with slam (albeit briefly) on “Silence of Decay” and “Hate Purgatory” and covers cult Chinese rocker Yong He on “Crematory.” They even manage to make slam danceable with a club-worthy remix of “Electric Shock” by electronic artist Zaliva-D. On paper, Deformity of Human Consciousness has all the makings of a total mess, yet somehow the band weaves these disparate sources of inspiration together seamlessly to create a crushing, bizarrely enjoyable musical patchwork.
The vocals on Deformity of Human Consciousness are as dynamic as the music. It’s got Cookie Monster vocals, it’s got Donald Duck with his ding-dong in a vice vocals, it’s got pigs being sodomized with a lead pipe vocals; hell, it’s got pretty much every type of death metal vocal you can think of. In a genre that suffers from so many one dimensional singers, it’s an absolute pleasure to hear these guys tear through such a wide array of extreme vocal stylings.
Indeed, The Dark Prison Massacre have puked up one hell of a weird yet wonderful slam album in Deformity of Human Consciousness. One can only hope that the band gets even weirder as they continue down the putrid path of musical evolution.