Released: 2013, Pavement Entertainment
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
The Italian extreme metal underground might not have quite the reputation of, say, Sweden, Germany or Norway, but what it lacks in relative quantity it more than makes up for in quality. Such notables as Hour of Penance, Gory Blister and Fleshgod Apocalypse have emerged from there, and you can now add The Modern Age Slavery to that distinguished roster.
Hailing from the Northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia, and with just one previous album under their belts, 2008's Damned To Blindness, the quintet managed to hook up a deal with Chicago's Pavement Entertainment, which relaunched itself earlier this year. The first fruit of this partnership is something American extreme metal fans should be able to warm up to pretty quickly.
Requiem For All Of Us offers something of a deathcore take on blackened death metal that sounds like Job For A Cowboy, Whitechapel, Behemoth and Decapitated in a steel cage match. Unceasing in its brutality, Requiem is a veritable cascade of complex, mechanized guitar grind and Gatling-gun drum salvos that attacks without mercy or letup. Punishing only begins to describe it. Just wait 'til you hear the blast beat-powered boot stomping they give Sepultura's mighty “Arise.” Holy crap!
The deathcore factor, truth be told, isn't as overbearing as it could be. Sure, the band aren't shy with the breakdowny hooks on “Obedience” or “Icon Of A Dead World,” and the chant-like group chorus on “The Dawn Prayers” is pretty textbook. But these ingredients are used sparingly elsewhere.
And, thankfully, Giovanni Berselli keeps his vocals on a pretty even keel - if one considers bug-eyed caterwauling as an even keel – a la JFAC's Jonny Davy, resisting the urge to break out the screeching/squealing/sub-guttural/barf-like antics so often employed by others to such annoying effect.
So while Requiem For All Of Us is by no means perfect, it will resonate with its undeniable heaviness – the production here is simply crushing – and unrelenting tenacity. And when these guys outgrow the deathcore trappings, brace yourselves.