Venom Prison – Samsara (Prosthetic)Sunday, 10th March 2019
Gaining plenty of well-deserved buzz after their 2016 debut Animus, did their fair share of global touring. Now three years later, they do what any other band that is hungry does – release an album that boosts up the qualities of the one before it while continuing to cross over into some fresh territory. As such, Samsara turns out to be a winner in every regard.
More than anything else, Animus felt different when compared to many other extreme metal releases. This continues to be true for Samsara – the band’s brand of death metal is anything but traditional in tone. Bringing in bits of thrash, tech, grind, and straight-up hardcore means that there’s a slurry of abrasive yet oddly cohesive elements. There’s a more direct mode of aggression that continually stays in your face. The big difference this time around concerns melody. While some melodies made their way in last time, there’s a deliberate focus this time. There’s also more breathing room for this to happen, as the songs themselves have lengthened. But not to the point that they lose their focus and urge for annihilation. A song like “Sadistic Rituals” greatly benefits from its melodic underpinnings (which have an almost black metal vibe at points) and the contrast they pose to the grind-y with a side of tech riffage and drum battery that the track operates on. The band’s use of hardcore grooves/breakdowns also is an effective switch on the usual formula, giving tracks like “Uterine Industrialisation” a more menacing feel with authentic grit, instead of being used haphazardly (as seen in a number of deathcore acts). Lastly, vocalist Larissa Stupar is caustic and varied – shifting away from the usual death metal tropes and having a more snarling attack that maintains the band’s speed runs and intensity. The lyrical content is also intriguing, again moving away from the norm and tackling topics of society today instead of dark fantasy or space.
A step up in every way, Venom Prison seem dead-set on clawing their way to the top of the death metal heap with Samsara. In a genre that can often feel like ‘more of the same,’ they are making an active attempt to stand out in the best way possible.