Oxygen Destroyer – Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death (2018) REVIEW

The 4th century BCE was not only a formative age of warring states and burgeoning philosophical spirituality in China but also a point of progenation for modern mythologies. ‘Shan Hai Jing‘ [山海經] or Classic of Mountains and Seas is a collection of geographically specific mythos across pre-Qin era China. The most striking imagery to come from it’s natural poetry is description of wild mythical beasts, often with combined characteristics of men and exaggerated animal forms. Often over-sized protectors of natural geography one can easily see how these beasts served as the inspiration for later Japanese-borrowed term Kaiju [怪獣], using the same word to refer to their own similar vision of mythical, mutated beasts. These monstrosities act as rightful protagonists for the obliteration of humanity in the debut full length from Seattle, Washington based death/thrash band Oxygen Destroyer.

The Godzilla vaporizing device the band is named after is essentially an H-bomb, a thermonuclear weapon that couldn’t hope to have the amount of impact that Polish death metal had upon the world once the Iron Curtain had been lifted at the ‘end’ of the Cold War around 1991. Although Magnus, Dragon, Quo Vadis and Imperator all burst out the gate with amazing records, the first band to land upon flesh with their Polish death/thrash metal stabbing (and get noticed) was Vader. For good reason, too, as ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ remains one of the better combustion of Slayer-rized death metal attacks ever recorded. Oxygen Destroyer totally agrees with me on this and starting with their ‘Saurian Warfare’ split with Carnotaurus you could really tell. I don’t give a shit about Godzilla personally, as a hater of most dinosaurs past and present, but I really like Vader and death/thrash in general so I instantly clicked with what Oxygen Destroyer were doing on ‘Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death’.

The production is a little butt-muddy but after cranking it up loud you can hear the intended combination clear as ice as they channel ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ by way of Demolition Hammer‘s ‘Epidemic of Violence’. I mean, they’ve said so and they did so. One of the most enduring extras to come from admiration of Demolition Hammer is their extensive lyrical prowess and in this sense ‘Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death’ is equally verbose in their descriptions of action-packed cataclysm. But hey in terms of style don’t stop there and it’d be reductive to sit on that description like a hen. Vocalist/guitarist Jordan Farrow snarls out his lines with a rasp closer to Hypnosia or Morbid Saint vocalists without going full-on Mille Petrozza; If not for the clear-as-day Vader influence I would suggest they’re just on the verge of dipping into Hellwitch‘s anxious riff attack but they’re not quite up to that level of technicality.

You’re either hittin’ it or quittin’ it at this point as a death/thrash fan based on that last paragraph but if you’re not convinced I don’t want to be so overzealous that I pump it up to be more than just a solid, ripping debut from a band that has years of thrashing to come. Independently released, and presumable funded, back in April and now picked up for proper spit-polishing and release from Redefining Darkness I found the album convincing enough to getting in on the ground floor with these guys while the gettin’ is good. It isn’t a new classic in death/thrash but it is an easy recommend for a band that are moving forward with good taste and positive underground intentions. For preview I’d suggest “Bio-Mechanically Imprisoning the Sacred Beast of the Apocalypse” as an example of how they suss out their own riff ideas within Vader-like structures, but “Cleansing the Earth of Human Existence” is easily the most adept string off riffs on the album.

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Artist Oxygen Destroyer
Type Album
Released July 20, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Redefining Darkness Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Oxygen Destroyer on Facebook
Genre Thrash Metal,
Death Metal

Gathered amongst the ancient altar. 3.75/5.0

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