Aversions Crown – Tyrant (Nuclear Blast)Thursday, 6th November 2014
With their latest release, Brisbane, Australia’s, Aversions Crown have further cemented their position as dogmatic deathcore purveyors. They have the formula down pat, but this proves to be a dubious attribute. As a genre, deathcore, while unequivocally heavy, frequently shortchanges listeners with rather monotonous instrumentation, and such is unfortunately also the case with Tyrant, whose ten tracks strike the listener with the singular blunt force of a sledgehammer and about the same amount of nuance.
To give credit where it’s due, the album is not without its engaging moments. Opening track “Hollow Planet” flaunts a lead guitar tone that sounds otherworldly in the most literal sense of the word, as if an ill-intentioned mothership is transmitting forecasts of earthly conquest directly through your speaker. Additionally, slight electronic influence finds its way into the closing passages of “Faith Collapsing,” which adds some nice (and much-needed) variation, albeit not enough to salvage the listening experience as a whole.
Tyrant’s great fault is that it offers little more than a deluge of formulaic breakdowns linked by riffage that’s too sparse to make a substantial impact. The album teases listeners with occasional flashes of neat melodies or more-varied riffing but just as quickly regresses into the breakdown safe zone. Granted, breakdowns constitute a core component of the “-core” genres, so they’re to be expected, but it’s certainly possible for bands to make them work to their favor. Unearth, for example, keeps their frequent breakdowns interesting with erratic chugging patterns and sharp melodies. Likewise, Carnifex’s recent Die without Hope proves a group can offer a crushing deathcore release with the judicious, methodical application of breakdowns vastly improving each song’s effectiveness. Tyrant, however, employs far too many breakdowns to allow for coherent songs, and none of them are particularly unique or memorable.
Unfortunately, Aversions Crown has dropped a proffering of deathcore in its most generic and uninteresting form. Cool tidbits aside, it just doesn’t provide enough to keep the album from descending into severe tedium from which it never recovers. Deathcore diehards will find plenty of slam-worthy material here, but not much else.