The cosmonaut is mercilessly grounded by the rotten maze of corruption a limiting and death-obsessed society provides. He, left to his own devices, cannot help but look within ruminating over the philosophical renders of greater human behavior for as long as possible and then comes the terror of looking outward upon the greater picture of perception. There is no bay window to peer from anymore and no great wonder of the world or simile that’d sate an inquisitive mind struggling for food, shelter, and sanity under the weight of the corporation as government. The only beacon available is itself a catch 22, a precision and intricacy obsessed thinking man’s music that’d reveal the replicant within a house of thieves for just long enough to be seen as an outsider and perceived (perhaps wrongly) as a machine. The word ‘technical’ is yet half-read and already the laser sights are whirring like ancient flash-bulbs warming for their pop — The cosmonaut’s technical death metal beacon is a death sentence among the fleshed ones in this primitive future of ours and yet as the bullets fly there is no cyborg within Horror God‘s biologic shell, only meticulously crafted feats of great focus. ‘Cursed Seeds’ is the Moscow area quintet’s finest beacon yet, avoiding any spark of cyborg tongue for the sake of righteously human technical death aggression.
The obtuse and skittering language of dissonant technical death metal is easily melted down within technique and theoretical structures fractalized by distorted tone, effects, and modular variation but there is no use for any of it in the minds of a certain niche of lapsed tech-death fandom who seek only the most human gems amidst the robotic generations of ‘betcha can’t play this’ children who saw the innovative conglomerations of Gorguts as a sport rather than an art. This is what’d part the sea between fermented taste and performative youth entertainment. I do not believe this Russian band, who formed in 2006, grew from a seedling of performative flash rather than from the tabula rasa provided by the philosophically inclined progressive metal modus of early-to-mid 90’s death metal. Maybe they’d not heard something as obscure as Hieronymus Bosch‘s (the band) early works but at the very least their debut ‘Cold Shine’ (2009) was infused with character enough to not be mistaken for an early Ulcerate clone, there was old and new blood in those veins. It hasn’t been an easy quantum leap from there but rather a meaningful progression towards brutality and dissonance, ‘keeping up’ with the times but not obsessing over the massive mechanical implications of Deathspell Omega, Portal, and other forward thinking extremists since. Whatever shred of classic prog-death or early technical death metal still informs Horror God‘s structural humanity, an earthen almost Augury-esque flow from moment to moment prevents their technique intensive works from sounding run-of-the-mill within the vast field of Gorguts-ian spawn.
The literature providing contextual vision mentions a paradigm within the realm of Baring Teeth and Sunless, modernists who’d balance their craft just out of abrasion without losing a brutalist core, though I’d additionally summon Replicant and Phobocosm for good measure due to the somewhat ruthless dissonance Horror God indulge in. Of course the additional context of say, Wicked Innocence could be even more illuminating for the deeper-diving tech death fan. Production values are perhaps thinner compared to contemporaries, emphasizing snare and resonant guitar mids at once while placing higher frequencies in the rafters alongside the double bass drum hits. The heart and the pit of it all is a ‘groomed’ brutal death experience just as it’d been on ‘Planet of Ruins’ (2012) but the soul of this new machine is less barbaric often collapsing in and out of a centric void with dissonance as the portal in both directions. Though I might be portraying the band as inoffensive and moderate for the sake of yanking your mind away from fiddly sweep-picked chugga-deathcore albums ‘Cursed Seeds’ is still a ‘modern’ technical death metal album that uses tangential movements to color themselves out of pure death metal lines. “Age of Madness” is a fine example of this, beginning with an early Gojira-esque tumult that screeches and bolts with an almost hardcorish burst as the first verse shifts to chorus. At this point the technical focus of the album could’ve been overstated by the overall messaging of the group, as the bigger picture focuses on grooves, riffs, and the shifting sands of progressive metal to create variation within the tracklist. The result is somewhere in between later Anata and a more mechanical project such as Illogicist.
“We Built These Walls Ourselves” is a fine example of dissonance as transitional movement, relatively traditional song structure, and the brooding grooves of post-2000 death metal. “Sunset” makes clear some of those DsO and adjacent influences but at no point does ‘Cursed Seeds’ ever break ruthlessly into violent or feral act, there is a civilized and polished cohesion that would have to be shattered more often to reach a fully organic, raw tech death sound. As outrageously extreme as Horror God are within any given moment their ideas are entirely contained and this adds meaning to the theme of the record which is made much less subtle by the cover artwork certainly depicting malevolent ‘nurture’ overruling nature, so to speak. This aforementioned ‘groomed’ feel is valuable and contextually exciting though I do believe that in striving for balance some of the internalized ferocity is compartmentalized within the greater vision of ‘Cursed Seeds’. If you’re lost within the namedrops and metaphysical glue of my thoughts then you’re in the right state of mind to absorb ‘Cursed Seeds’ and put simply Horror God have achieved their finest and most balanced technical death metal act to date, a beacon for the fastidious mind that’d still appreciate brutality, groove, and substantive structures beyond machine-forced technique. Highly recommended. For preview purposes I’d suggest “Age of Madness” will hook in the broader tech-death audience and “Sunset” will intrigue those looking for something more directly dissonant in movement.
Shimmering the ghostly shadows. 4.0/5.0
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