Bacterial Husk – Anthropogenic Ruin (Self-Released)Friday, 3rd November 2023
There seems to be two major modes of thought with death metal nowadays, speaking in generalities. The penchant for making SweDeath yet again, or trying to out-tech the rest of the current crop. You know what there’s not enough of? Bands that lean harder into the ’90s (outside of Sweden) as a whole. Something that Bacterial Husk does, which helps them to stand out among the ever-expansive death metal denizens. Anthropogenic Ruin isn’t just a ‘slap new paint on it’ rehash either though, incorporating some more modern schools of thought to enhance their vision.
Armed with a backstory of only a one-song demo and 4-song EP back in 2016, Bacterial Husk come out swinging on Anthropogenic Ruin. With members of Razormaze and Scattered Remnants in tow, they aren’t exactly newcomers to the scene. With that in mind, there’s quite a bit that the band manages to accomplish here. First off, the blend of death and thrash feels seamless – some of the riffing techniques will bring some memories of the Floridian scene, such as Malevolent Creation and early Cannibal Corpse, but never to the point of copycat claims. You can hear that same energy, but they put it to use in different ways. There’s an urgency in the vocals that is occasionally countered by a more technical, modern flair to the riffing, but it’s done tastefully and in respect to the song. You can hear some very ear-tickling stuff in a cut like “Mystics of Transmutation,” but it’s done in a sly way instead of just hitting you over the head with it. Also integrated well are some more melodic moments, without halting the flow of energy through the song. “Flayed by Anomalies” has some strong grooves and catchy riffs in it, but keeps you locked into the aggression that the song puts first and foremost, blending some older thrashy vibes with death metal intensity. On “Corrupted Hydrosphere,” slower and more massive grooves exchange blows with blasting tech flourishes and mid-tempo gallops.
So in the end, its the songwriting variety, while maintaining an abrasive edge, that allows Bacterial Husk to come up with some memorable death metal moments. Anthropogenic Ruin chooses to come at you with a balanced attack that provides just enough nostalgia to get the head and feet moving, but carefully allots for some newer bits of technical prowess and melody that keep them from coming across as ‘stuck in the past.’ Bottom line really is that this is some strong death metal that can appeal to the veterans as well as those new to the scene.