Album Review: GENOCIDE PACT Order Of Torment
In death metal, some prefixes just make sense. Take, for example, the prefix of 'cavernous'. The word itself speaks volumes. Written on its own, free of metaphors or fluffy descriptors, it exudes power and mystery. It lures us with its foreboding and claustrophobic tone. Just as the mystery of the heavens has enchanted mankind since humble beginnings, so too has subterranean fathomage.
Clawing its way from hypogeal depths, cavernous death metal got its start way back in the early 90's with the undisputed champions of all things death metal, Incantation. Not to be buried and forgotten, this micro-genre has spent the last few years reaffirming itself in the timeworn world of extreme metal. For the bravest, spelunking deep enough into said cavern will, on occasion, produce rare and valuable gems. Bands such as Dead Congregation, Portal, and Grave Miasma are just such bands; leading the charge into a second-wave of this stuff.
The problem starts when one wave is followed by another, only to be followed by another, and then another, and yet another. Anyway, you get the point. Evenutally that wave swells into a Tsunami that hits fucking hard and fast, sure, but then recedes from the destruction almost as quickly as it came. One simply has to look back to the second-wave of Norwegian black metal in the early-to-mid 90's to understand the problem we face today as it relates to our beloved brutality. Successes of the Norwegian contingent saw the floodgates open and corpse-painted bands from around the world spill in. For those of us that experienced black metal's angsty teenage years as it was happening; the challenge of sifting through the sediment in search of blackened diamonds in the rough was real.
Unlike the majority of the spike and inverted cross-adorned pretenders, who eventually faded away into obscurity, Washington, D.C.'s Genocide Pact are here to stay. Not content with simply cannibalizing the sounds of their cavernous progenitors, this brilliant three-piece flattens everything in their path with a sound akin to a panzer battalion blitzkrieg-ing its way across Europe in pursuit of global domination. Unlike the aforementioned battalion, world domination is not only possible but welcomed.
With their latest Relapse Records-released album, Order Of Torment, the gents of Genocide Pact ensure their craft remains as relevant today as it will two hundred years from now. While many of their peers might seem content crooning from fathomless depths for all eternity, Genocide Pact embraces the subterranean and all its inherent perils, yet never at the expense of exploration and self-discovery. This proves quite beneficial. Songs like "Decimation Grid," "Spawn Of Suffering," and "Pain Reprisal" owe as much to contemporary cavernous death metal (see Ritual Chamber or Chthe'ilist) as it does Incantation. Most notably, Order Of Torment is filthy… disgusting… grimey… grind-y… like its been buried for centuries. No amount of Tide Ball consumption is gonna get this thing clean.
In short, Genocide Pact perks ears throughout the entirety of Order Of Torment. This is not an easy feat when it comes to this stuff. Much like drone or funeral doom, cavernous death metal has a tendency to… loiter. Certainly, there are moments of loitering scattered across the album's eight tracks. However, those moments are accompanied by the salvo of a fully automatic weapon echoing its discharge throughout the cavern's twisted, vexing chambers.