Album review Culture Killer

Florida-based quintet Culture Killer started in 2013 and just a couple of years later the band scored a record deal with genre giant Metal Blade. That certainly raised the expectation. When Metal Blade signs a newcomer band they must have something unique on offer. Now the full-length debut album ‘Throes of Mankind’ has been released.

Culture Killer presents an angry and aggressive mix of hardcore and metal with some references to death metal, thrash metal and the occasional grindcore. On the first look that seems to follow the recent trend of scores of new bands that experiment along and across sub-genre borders. However, there is something that sets Culture Killer apart from most of the other contenders.

‘Throes of Mankind’ offers ten, brutal and neck-breaking pieces of anger. The opener ‘Blindfolded Death’ kicks off with an eerie intro before the band breaks out into a fast hardcore riff with a touch of a thrash feeling to it. The track has a couple of breaks and ventures into some death metal riffing that is intertwined with groovy hardcore passages and more galloping thrash. Vocalist Ian Campbell screams, shouts and growls and shows a variety in that first song that matches the overall structure of the track. And not only that. He is right in your face, angry, pissed-off and aggressive. That in return fits with the lyrics. The band has obviously a lot to say. Disillusioned the band lashes out and addresses the failure of politicians, modern society and mankind in general. Their anger explodes in the brutal mixture of extreme metal, hardcore and harsh vocals that is ‘Throes of Mankind’.

The remaining 9 songs keep up that level of brutality without being just a repetition of the first track. ‘Path of Reflection’ for example shows that Culture Killer can be extremely heavy although they take out some of the pace of the opener. ‘Cloaked in Deceit’ meanders between classic hardcore and some slower passages that come across like doom metal with their dark melodies. ‘(Sub)Stance’ surprises with a wild mixture of hardcore and an intro that reminds me of some of the crossover metal/rap attempts of the 80s. The remaining tracks stay within those boundaries of hardcore and several other metal sub-genres.

‘Throes of Mankind’ is a strong contender for the debut album of the year. Culture Killer haven’t re-invented metal or hardcore with their debut. They also haven’t created a new trend of crossover experiments. But what they have done is recording an album with 10 tracks of extreme intensity, brutality and aggression. Keeping up that level of aggression through the entire album is what sets them apart from other newcomers and established bands. The lyrical concept, the anger and the hate combined with harsh vocals and extreme metal and hardcore comes across very authentic. For that you have to congratulate Culture Killer.

9 of 10