Released: 2013, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
If nothing else, Edmonton, Canada's, Death Toll Rising show a modicum of subtlety or modesty with their second self-released full length. 2010's scatological Defecation Suffocation arrived with cover art depicting exactly what it advertised. Yum!
By comparison, the new Infection Legacy seems downright chaste, and the cover art - which depicts a swarm of viruses attacking a cell, or mutant sperm penetrating an egg, it's tough to tell - is about as provocative as a biology class microscope slide.
As for their music, it too has grown more clever - or at least less obvious - with time. Perhaps taking a page from Exhumed, whose “gore metal” gradually became far less overtly grotesque while retaining its distinct brutality - and who Death Toll will no doubt remind people of - the band also have ditched in-your-face song titles like “Babyslitter” or “The Bludgeoning” in favor of the more nebulous “Judas Cradle” or “Revelation Despair” that still seem pretty damn sinister. And their riffy, chugging bluster is anything but typical brutal death metal.
Indeed there's a full frontal thrashy assaultiveness to Infection Legacy that at times recalls Exodus or Lamb of God - notably, and ironically, on “Born To Defile,” which bears the album's “deathliest” title or “Malice Incarnate” - with their cascading guitars, pummeling drums and crisp, crunchy production. The murkiness, technical indulgences and complexities that have become death metal staples are largely left by the wayside here - the epic final track “Septic Entity” excepting - in favor of sheer aggression. The unrelenting heaviness of Infection Legacy should not be underestimated.
The growl-and-scream vocal tradeoffs are where the obvious Exhumed comparisons can be made, and provide most of the Death Toll's death metal character. But they too are delivered with a dogfight tenacity one rarely hears from the average death metal gurgler and makes Infection an all the more bruising effort.