20th January 2017 - Nuclear Blast Records
02. Prismatic Abyss
03. The Soulless Acolyte
07. The Oracles of Existence
08. Cynical Entity
09. Stillborn Existence
10. Cycles of Haruspex
Australia gives the world so much without ever asking for anything back: koalas, vegemite, and Aversions Crown. Perhaps you, dear reader, are unfamiliar with Aversions Crown (and also vegemite) as they are a young band in a crowded genre but their 3rd album should put them on your radar. Xenocide is the first great album of 2017 and its release is a welcome balm on an otherwise strange and unfortunate day for the world.
Xenocide is not by any means a novel or innovative entry in the deathcore subgenre (though it would be fascinating to hear an avant-garde deathcore band), but that is hardly a mark against it. What is the draw of deathcore? Relentless, blood-pumping ferocity! Unfortunately what has been a staple in the scene for a decade now has been open-chugging, repetition, unintelligible vocals, and generally poor songwriting that lacks technical finesse. Aversions Crown rise above all of these problems that continue to plague the fertile foundation that deathcore is built upon through their instrumental virtuosity, their ability to write memorable riffs that have a wavy flow to them, and the variety that permeates Xenocide.
Following a pointless introductory track (why are we still doing this in 2017?), Aversions Crown have a powerful true opener with “Prismatic Abyss” that boasts an astounding technical drumming performance and riffs that are more death (think contemporary Behemoth) than they are core (think Emmure, if you can stomach that). From here on out, Xenocide manages to bring flourishes that are reminiscent of bands as distinct from one another as Vildhjarta and even Cattle Decapitation as some tracks emphasize the ambience often associated with the former while others are emblematic of the cacophonous grinding of the latter, particularly on penultimate track “Misery“. The vocals are powerful and utilise a diversity of styles from guttural slam to the occasional hoarse hardcore shouts to high-pitched blackened shrieks.
Aversions Crown have put together 50 minutes of music that are expertly crafted and devoid of anything that could be considered either low effort or uninspired. Xenocide is an exhilarating and well-produced album that more than makes up for not advancing the subgenre by offering an clear statement of what deathcore can be at its best. This is the first stand out album of the year because of Aversions Crown’s commitment to go beyond brutality and grooves to leave us with songs that are intricate enough to really listen to. Time will tell what impact Xenocide will still have when it comes time for best of 2017 lists, but right now it is the best we’ve got.