Like dark angels shrouded in ethereal mist, thirsty for harvesting of iniquitous souls, Superstition pierce with black, vitriolic, impaling zealotry. The venomous attack of New Mexico’s Superstition is remorseless and reinvigorates a sound born in the transformative years of early death metal; Malevolent, noxious and with thrashing madness. After releasing one of the top demos of 2018 with “Surging Throng of Evil’s Might”, superstition set expectations exceedingly high for their first full length, “The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation”.
They have created songs that go beyond the strict tenets of a specific subgenre and have established themselves as peers to current bands with comparable intent, such as Norway’s Obliteration and Finland’s Ghastly. This is a conglomeration of malicious instrumentation and sound meant to invoke visceral emotion. This album hearkens to an era absent of clearly defined classifications and rules of dogmatic black metal, thrash and death metal. Think of bands such as Texas’ Necrovore, Chile’s Sadism and Atomic Aggressor, Peru’s Mortem and Italy’s Mortuary Drape. The improvement in modern production quality does not seem to diminish maliciousness, and “The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation” sears through your burning flesh with inhuman ferocity.
Sepulchral essence is intentionally imbued throughout the album while a palpable weight and urgency is felt. This is not the type of darkness that feels as if you are being slowly and dramatically pulled into the dismal and unsympathetic cavern of darkness by the slow tentacles of death. No, this feels as if your corpse has been exhumed with hooked chains only to be unmercifully dragged by Death’s detestable spectre at horrifying speed; Through the burial ground, the forest, and ultimately cast off a precipitous cliff in a terrifying descent into the smoldering, abyssal necropolis below.
One of the strongest aspects of this band lies within the vocalist’s vile, bloodsoaked larynx. His retching, bilious effluence spews black poison made for accursed hymns. The guitars are ever present with incendiary and feverish fretwork ubiquitous throughout the album. Multi-note tremolo picking with hammer-on and pull-off licks, creative phrasing, rapid chord slides and brief whammy-bar infused solos at perfect times. The bass is not drowned in the mix and buttresses the weight of this album. Drumwork is varied and intense, with groove-infused rolls and fills between the barrage of percussive blasts.
Aside from the 6 main tracks, an interesting concept presented throughout the album showcases 3 excellent dark synth sections. These compositions make me feel as if I am a kid again, watching 80’s horror movies at my friend’s house after his parents go to bed (before watching scrambled porn of course…….”I think that’s a boob!”). It is the music of the dark past’s bleak future, and it fits perfectly.
This is not your typical old-school-inspired death metal release that is so identifiably “retro” or derivative that it borders on being Hipster-esque. You will not see 20-something year old Steampunk Brooklyn-ites riding around on unicycles, with monocles, bubble-pipes and handle-bar moustaches wearing Superstition T-shirts drinking organic peach beer. No. Who you WILL see wearing Superstition T-shirts……..are those who have seen death, looked deeply into its vacant abyssal eyes…….and have incinerated it with grain alcohol and a flamethrower. (Chris Topher MC)