THE DEMO CORNER
One way to quell the wonder as to whether or not Chicago’s Cardiac Arrest would be able to follow up the brilliant 2010 Haven for the Insane is to pop in the latest platter of pus titled Vortex of Violence and, quite frankly, have your head stomped into a bloody mess while your ears still take in the brutality and ugliness that is this record.
From the very first notes, “Portal of the Damned” offers no quarter and plays no musical games with the listener; this is an album of death metal suffering that causes the air to literally drain from the room and into your stomach as you gasp for air trying to keep up with the furious guitar work and drumming that just doesn’t relent. With a track like “To Their Graves” you find yourself being sucked into the din of horrid harmony that honestly takes the death genre to its knees and polishes your head before delivering the death blow accordingly. The growling vocals are a deep, methodical lesson in musical suturing that only gets more intense when “Relentless Pursuit” destroys the notion that this is just another metal band bent at the altar of Autopsy or Incantation.
What is always engaging about Cardiac Arrest from the very first time I heard them on the Heart Stopping Death Rot EP some years back is how they pull no punches in what they are here to do, and that’s to just assault your senses with some wholly battering and highly gruesome music that is down-tuned despair not designed to set the world afire with its glorious return to some long-past heyday. Cardiac Arrest is a working man’s death metal band that achieves what it sets out to achieve: to tap into the forlorn recesses of the everyman that bottles up the rage and violence inside him and follows the line of conformity as best as he can to avoid jail or premature death, plain and simple. “Depths of Despair” is so sinister sounding that it’s easily one of my favorite tracks on the album; it’s like a serial killer’s theme song, and this is exactly the type of feelings the everyman might bury within to keep up appearances of normalcy in a world which consistently pushes his buttons of sanity.
When you hear the repulsiveness of “Conjured Beings” or “Subject to Torture”, you are living vicariously through the band as they create sonic escapes into temporary madness. When the lines “This is hell on earth!” are bellowed in “Conjured Beings” you become fully aware of just how close to the line of violent outburst you might be on a daily basis. When an album like Vortex of Violence is exhumed and subsequently ingested in one full sitting you honestly feel as if you’ve released something inside, and that’s not an attempt at poetic insincerity for the sake of pretty words. For an album of death metal design to be effective and initiate such violent thoughts and feelings it speaks volumes for the creators of said music. Not many folks outside of our movement understand death metal; they say it all sounds the same and has no structure or beat, and while I can, in theory, understand such ignorant statements I am left wondering how you can’t differentiate between the title track and “The Last Thing That You See”, but I’m also privy to nearly four decades of death metal at my feet. My years of death metal engagement notwithstanding, this latest Cardiac Arrest CD does everything it’s supposed to do and more; it taps into the disfigured sides of us all and forces a cathartic look inward at the horror that can consume all of us in the blink of an eye or with the slightest provocation.
What you get with Vortex of Violence is a testament set to deadly chords of hatred and pain, assembled nice and neat into a dark and dim package and best opened in the sanctuary of a private room. You might not be ready for the feelings you’ll undoubtedly feel with this record, but at least you’ll have good company in the tempestuousness of your soul’s raging center.
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1. Portal of the Damned
2. To Their Graves
3. Relentless Pursuit
4. Conjured Beings
5. Primitive Lunacy
6. Vortex of Violence
7. The Depths of Despair
8. Ritual Plague
9. Subject to Torture
11. The Last Thing That You See
Total playing time: 47:39
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Label: Ibex Moon Records
Cardiac Arrest - Vortex of Violence
May 22, 2012