Opinion Review

Subject To Slaughter: Eschatology

It’s safe to say that you can tell whether you will like Subject to Slaughter from their name alone – a band with a name like that seldom dabbles in folk music. They describe themselves as “Melodic Djentcore” effectively combining clanging rhythms with intense drum work and extreme vocals ranging from death growls to screams. Even for fans of heavy music, this is decidedly heavy.

Instrumental opener ‘Eschatology’ provides us with the quietest minute-and-a-half that the six-track album offers. Guitarists Kobus Neethling and Conrad Lottering are both using eight-string guitars, the down-tuned chords of which squeeze out as much midrange as you could ever get from a speaker cabinet. The result is muddy and aggressive. Their Djent influence shines through considerably from the very start and the next five songs inevitably find time for short, sharp rhythmic sections dedicated purely to the raw tone of their lowest strings.

Drummer Anrich Engelbrecht consistently steals the show with his skill – rhythmic solidity is one thing but he also demonstrates a sense of nuance and creative rudiments that you don’t hear often enough in any genre. ‘Olympus’ plays out like a drum clinic encompassing blast beats, unorthodox right-hand rhythms and fresh fill ideas.

Stefan Prins demonstrates solid vocal technique throughout Eschatology employing both guttural death growls and screams, but it’s his lower register that truly impresses. He delivers with primal force that commendably holds its own against the abundant instrumentation in the mix.

The highlight of the album is ‘Omega’ owing largely to more adventurous guitar work. In the verse they switch fluidly back and forth, from thumping low chords to harmonized riffs that go a long way in adding colour to these brutal proceedings. As the song draws to the close it also features the biggest surprise on the album by way of some blistering sweep-picking work. As the high-pitched arpeggios arch over the heavy staccato rhythm I can’t help but feel that this resource that has been utilized too sparingly up to this point in the album, firstly because they are really showing the extent of their skills in a way that nods to Engelbrecht’s drumming, and secondly because it spreads out the guitars in the mix. Seeing as how there are no melodic vocals at all that goes a long way in providing a balanced final product.

Subject to Slaughter proves itself to be a band comprised of highly capable metalheads. Eschatology evolves as an album and at its zenith proves itself to be something special.

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Listen to “Eschatology” below on Deezer.