Amputate – Dawn of Annihilation (Massacre Records)

Monday, 10th October 2022
Rating: 7.5 / 10

Forming in Portugal a decade ago, Amputate moved to Switzerland, releasing a series of EP’s as well as a debut album Tortura Macabra independently during the first few years. Gaining a new bassist plus second guitarist/vocalist during the pandemic, the quartet aligns with Massacre Records for this second full-length in Dawn of Annihilation. Between the distinctive tentacle-laden abyss portrayed on the cover art as well as the brutal band logo, it’s easy to tell that you can expect a sick form of aggressive death metal from these musicians – and that’s what you’ll get along with the occasional groove-laden reprieves, pulling from a mix of US influences across the early 90’s/2000’s landscape.

Sick twisted tremolo picking next to a steady double kick foundation soon gives way to a churning mid-tempo death cauldron between Tom Kuzmic and Nuno Santos – the compositions like “Feeding on Thee” as well as the title track quickly changing on a dime from blitzkrieg parts to deadly cement-mixing passages mandatory for swirling pit action. Occasional nods to deathcore appear in spots, but never deteriorate into technical madness without forethought or hooks – opener “Plague Upon Plague” succeeding through its blasting to Cannibal Corpse-esque see saw measures. During the second half of the record “When the Sun Turns Black” serves as an aural buffer, a 3:20 instrumental composition with restrained guitar heroics. Intertwining the spirit of acts like Suffocation, Death, Morbid Angel, and Cannibal Corpse when it comes to influences, attitude, atmosphere, and execution, these musicians understand the use of dynamics track to track – never staying stuck in one gear for too long to exhaust the impact of their music. Choosing to tackle a future hopeless world where humans are harvested on the lyrical front, Tom doubles as the vocalist – possessing a duality sick screaming/killer death growl combination (images of John Tardy coming to mind on “Agonizing in Terror”) that mirrors the roller coaster swings taking place on the musical side of things.

By the time the exotic harmonies / sick progressive tempo hits ring out on the closer “Buried by Ashes”, most listeners will go back to the beginning to enjoy Amputate even more. Tight, old school death metal the US way from a European band, Dawn of Annihilation may not necessarily be the most original record coming out in 2022, but it sure does its job in terms of savage intensity.

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