It doesn’t seem too long ago when deathcore was a frowned upon scene. And to an extent, that disapproval was justified considering the over-indulgence in breakdowns paired with Hot Topic sold tank-tops and ear cartilage curdling gauges. The death metal community tightly embraced their elitism and bitterly shunned the spike in popularity of early mainstream deathcore bands for the aforementioned reasons, chalking it up to be a likely short-lived subgenre. There was a point in time where I somewhat also shared this perspective as deathcore's big-names were repeating their formula album after album. As we fast-forward to today, the negative connotation and musical complacency rooted within deathcore has surprisingly pulled off a successful 180.
As the subgenre evolved, the problematic and derivative aspects were shed by a large majority of the modern acts who dramatically adapted and matured. And for that reason and many recent compelling releases, I find myself believing that we are in an unspoken renaissance era of deathcore. We’ve seen the budding growth of new paths including blackened deathcore, progressive/technical deathcore, and symphonic deathcore paralleling how we witnessed the previous rise of blackened death metal, prog/tech death, and symphonic death metal. Most shocking of all this is how these advancements lessens the disparity between death metal and deathcore. The two subgenre scenes which once held divisive views of each other are conjoining together as acts like Fit for an Autopsy, The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Shadow of Intent, AngelMaker, etc. are being highly praised as rising defenders of deathcore, but more importantly bridging the gap between the two scenes and subgenres.
With the context and condensed history of death metal and deathcore now laid out, we arrive at Aversions Crown. While they occasionally popped up on my radar years ago, this record is admittedly my first detailed venture into the music of the Australian act. After being impressed by Hell Will Come For Us All, I went back to skim through their previous three LPs and while they showcase a keen sense of technicality and brutality, this new material is by far the band's strongest, most bold, and likely to break them farther into the deathcore scene's limelight. Furthermore, this LP is most definitely centered in a foundation of deathcore, but adds death metal, technical, and blackened elements into the melting pot.
Their complex identify can be easily absorbed in the one-two punch of the opening tracks "The Soil" and "Born in the Gutter." These clearly show a bludgeoning heaviness, yet also demonstrate dynamics and nuance in not only the rhythm of the riffs but the wavering vocal deliveries. The material checks off all the boxes for one craving aggressive, extreme metal without falling into the trap of excessive intensity and production polish. Also, the touch of melody is notable, allowing for their shreddy and chuggy guitar riffs to be stuck in your head. Other stand-out moments on the record include the black metal tone of the title track as well as the lead guitarwork in "Scourge of Violence." And yes, an abundance of crushing breakdowns are scattered throughout the album as well.
Overall, the material displayed on this LP shows progress and maturation for both Aversions Crown and the deathcore subgenre as a whole. While there absolutely were impressive and boundary-breaking elements of early deathcore, it was far from perfect. Hell Will Come For Us All is a solid representation of how there is always room for improvement considering they took the deathcore formula and enhanced many aspects. Their focus on guitar leads, dynamics, melody, and the addition of tech-death and black metal characteristics allowed each track to flourish. Additionally, I applaud the band's restraint regarding both length and musical modesty. This record clocks in at less than forty minutes, which is actually quite perfect for metal on this scale of dense heaviness. Secondly, these songs are effective in the way that they never go overboard with brutality or technicality.
Earlier, I mentioned many other acts that are also leading the current wave of deathcore in similar ways, so I can't deem this record to be revolutionary, but rather strongly supportive of my previous claim that we are seeing a new renaissance era of the subgenre. If you're a fan of the modern and matured generation of deathcore, Aversions Crown absolutely deserves to be in your usual listening. In the end, this is what deathcore sounds like in 2020 and I wholeheartedly approve.