A Universal Plague (2011)
US, Independently Released, Technical Progressive Deathcore
I never believed this was possible.
I might have entertained the notion a couple of times as one of those logical absurdities like sober drunk, promiscuous virgin or peaceful government but even with bands like Rings Of Saturn around, I still refused to believe there could ever be a Deathcore outfit on par with even the simplest of Death Metal. It could be decent, even good at its rarest, but never would Deathcore reach the level of Death Metal, let alone Technical Death Metal.
That’s when Abiotic completely destroyed what I had taken for granted. As soon as I put on ‘Vermosapien’, I knew what I was listening to was definitely Deathcore, but it was unlike any expression of the genre I’ve yet seen. The vocals were powerful, the music displayed the perfect mixture of technicality and groove and the oft maligned breakdowns went so far beyond the commonly understood ‘chugga chugga chugga’ garbage that it felt insulting to think of them as such. All I could do when the song concluded was to play it again, if only to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating. Not only did it get better the second time through, but the logical absurdity I had been scoffing at all this time was right in front of me. This wasn’t the ‘fun every once in a while’ kind of Deathcore that Veil Of Maya and Circle Of Contempt specialize in nor was it the ‘gateway drug to Death Metal’ type of Deathcore that Rings Of Saturn plays. Abiotic had finally achieved what Despised Icon and several key others have tried, but failed; ‘A Universal Plague’ is the one Deathcore release that stands tall with actual Death Metal. Hell must be freezing this time of year.
Despite the utter disbelief I initially felt, it soon became clear why Abiotic had successfully completed the impossible; unlike all of the other Deathcore outfits I can think of, the level of talent Abiotic possesses is equivalent to that of a technical death metal band. The catch of course is that this isn’t technical death metal, but the same level of skill and dedication was used. Either that or Abiotic came here from a bizarro world where Deathcore is always insanely brutal, musically complex and ridiculously addictive. In either case, across seven tracks, Abiotic have singlehandedly rendered every other Deathcore band irrelevant and a detriment to their own genre. These guys are the closest thing Deathcore has ever had to a miracle, so they’d better fucking acknowledge it.
To continue what surely sounds like I’ve finally lost my goddamn mind, this band has no weak link. Every member, from the punishing vocalist Ray Jimenez to the otherwordly bassist Alex Vasquez is absolutely essential. Unlike just about every other so called ‘vocalist’ in Deathcore, Ray Jimenez is a monster. His earth shattering lows perfectly alternate with pulse pounding highs for a vocal beating you won’t soon forget. Likewise, guitarists Matt Mendez and Johnathan Matos provide a magnificent balance of virtuosity and groove, making headbanging an inevitability. Drummer Andres Hurtado is not only extremely gifted, he also manages to bring every other element of the music together while not overpowering them; the way only Grade A drummers can. Last, but certainly not least, Alex Vasquez lays down some of the best bass work I’ve heard from a modern outfit. In tandem with his phenomenal band mates, Vasquez will ensure that your mind is blown with the utmost mastery.
The only fault in this release is certain aspects of the production quality. Even then, for an independently released EP this sounds damn good. The biggest wish I have for this band is to simply acquire the recognition they deserve. Forget every skinny jean wearing bree bree dickhole calling themselves ‘deathcore’. Abiotic makes every single one of them wet their sister’s pants and cry all the way to mommy’s minivan. When these talented Floridians are finally signed to a record label, they deserve to be associated with all sorts of classic Death Metal. They’ve more than earned it.
This review may kill whatever sort of underground cred I had but I couldn’t care less. If praising Abiotic makes me a ‘poser’, then so be it. I’d rather get shitty looks from ignorant elitists than lie about the quality of a band simply because they happen to be Deathcore. This is some of the finest modern metal I could have asked for, the only genuinely awesome Deathcore band and a fantastic debut. Don’t miss this release.