Take a moment to reflect on the last time you were truly angry. Don’t just remember it, really feel it–reach deep down within yourself and feel your blood boil. Hear emperor Palpatine’s voice echo through your head--let the hate flow through you. The temperature of your skin rises, the corners of your vision begin to blur and go red–in a matter of seconds, the adrenaline pouring through your veins will take effect, leaving the sane, rational you behind and pulling the raging, rampaging you into the present. Before you lose all control, take a second and stop to remember this feeling, because the second you begin listening to Widow, the debut EP from Richmond, Virginia based beatdown quartet, Immoralist, you’ll be seeing red again. Influenced by bitterness, rage, spite and hatred, Immoralist provide a relentlessly devastating experience which is as heavy as an elephant, slower than a sloth and hits as hard as a freight train.
Lyrics are the first thing about Immoralist’s unique breed of hatred which really reaches out and grabs the listener’s attention. Starting with “145” and carrying well into “Son of Misery,” the listener is subject to near non-stop amounts of misanthropic rage pouring forth from vocalist Davis Rider’s mouth. Rider is the source of one of Widow’s strongest aspects: sheer, volatile rage. Rider’s lyrics and vocals are influenced by just that–contempt at the human condition which surrounds him on a day to day basis. While the first two tracks are the source of solid insight into this, the listener is not truly blown away by Immoralist’s vocal ingenuity until “Slumlord” begins. Only during the maelstrom of malcontent and misanthropy that is “Slumlord” does the listener feel truly overwhelmed by the relentless, demoralizing onslaught that is Widow. It is here where the listener’s blood begins to boil; where their vision blurs and fades to red. However, where in most EPs, the listener is given a break, or some kind of reprieve, there is no such siesta to be had on Widow. Immoralist begin their attack early and absolutely refuse to let up.
Anything but a one-trick pony, Widow launches a multifaceted attack on the listener: deep, devastating vocals rumble side-by-side with drums of mammoth-like proportions and subterranean, ground-shaking guitars. While the vocals wear and tear on the listener’s ears, slowly wearing down their sanity, driving them closer and closer to the brink, the instruments clash, crush and churn; grinding the listener’s bones to dust. “Haunted,” does this brilliantly–combining devastatingly well written lyrics with incessantly battering and abusive vocals on top of a relentless instrumental attack which only gets slower and heavier as the track goes on. While “Haunted” does this extraordinarily well, every track on the album does a phenomenal job of combining the vocal elements with the instrumental elements. Where the grinding, chugging, steamrolling guitar flatten a glorious field for the drums and bass to plant seeds on musical innovation and devastation, the vocals and lyrics are the sun and the rain which allow those elements to reach their true fruition.
Immoralist’s breed of deathcore-infused beatdown is tricky to classify. On one hand, Widow has all the blistering rage and heat of a machine-gun speed, hypertechnical act. Tracks like the lead single, “Death Spitter” manage to move along at a relatively fluid and quick pace, providing a constant blow-after-blow barrage upon the listener with relatively little time for the listener to catch their breath. On the other hand, there is an undeniable sludgy feel which is pervasive throughout the release. Widow has moments which seem as if they slow down time to a point where the listener is waiting on the edge of their seat–hungry for the next hate-filled syllable, thirsty for the next cracking snare thwack and crashing cymbal hit. This combination of mid-tempo, steadily-punctuated jabs and kicks mixed with devastating, mammoth attacks on the listener’s ears keeps Widow from reaching monotony of any kind. Rather, Immoralist have crafted a refreshingly heavy release which pulls no punches and leaves no solace or break for the listener–let alone a place for them to hide when they’ve taken all of the anger and bitterness they can handle.
If you haven’t found the desire to wage war on society and slam the person nearest you into a chokehold by the time Widow has run it’s course, listen to it again. Not only am I willing to bet that by the time “Death Spitter” subsides, the listener will be ready to throw punches, the great glory of Immoralist’s debut EP is that it can be played on repeat–something not many visceral, spine-shatteringly heavy releases are capable of. Rather than wear the listener down and bore them, the anger pervasive on Widow acts as a fuel for violence and discontent, riling up the listener rather than putting them to sleep. Widow is a release which is just as bitter and filled with contempt as the world that crafted it.
For Fans Of: ABACABB, Overthrower, Subtract, Stories