In Soviet Russia, core deaths you. Pardon the awful joke, but when it comes to an act as brutal as Slaughter to Prevail, the use of such memes are warranted. There are some pretty high standards for viciousness and mind-blowing technicality in deathcore, but when it comes to these guys they work within a zone that’s just right: Lightspeed fast and clean in a way that’s more digestible than Archspire and exemplary of the genre that’s less boxed in than Chelsea Grin or Job For A Cowboy. What you get with Slaughter to Prevail is a cutthroat blend forged in iron, steel and Russian winter, and with their new LP Kostolom they set out to demonstrate their ruthless execution even further.
The song titles sum it up, first with the opener “Bonebreaker” that features a crushing breakdown and plenty of guttural vocal work from Alex Terrible, then the single “Demolisher” that gained attention not only for Alex’s demonic vocal break but for the extensive, blast beats and rapid heel-toe double bass in the bridge section courtesy of Evgeny Novikov. With “Baba Yaga” you get deathcore with a twist of Iowa thrown in, a road that gets driven again on “Made In Russia” and “Zavali Ebalo”. “Agony” is the best title to describe the state of concertgoers’ necks and Novikov’s calf muscles after said cut gets played live, while “Your Only” features some decent clean vocals in the chorus from Terrible. It’s a nice, subtle show of versatility outside of summoning the devil, but it sure as hell (thankfully) ain’t “Watermelon Sugar” either.
Terrible and co. continue to take no prisoners with “I Killed A Man”, a bloodbath of machine-gun drumming and riffing with laser precision. The comparatively slower “Bratva” will give some hope to skin-beaters everywhere that there is a Slaughter to Prevail song they can actually play, only to be disillusioned again by the machine-like percussery of “Ourboros”. “Head On A Plate” is a mess of blast beats and dissonant chords, reminiscent at times of vintage Cryptopsy (and not just because of this album cover). At last there is “Father”, one more swift, stomping demonstration of tightness and ferocity with a touch of Lamb of God at the end to cap this bloody assault of the eardrums with.
With the level they’re at with only two albums and an EP under their belt, Slaughter to Prevail will do nothing but prevail in the next few years. Their exceptionally technical approach to deathcore and undeniable ability to put out some ripper tunes that aren’t just aimless masturbation sessions has already earned them a solid following that continues to grow, and will surely inspire many-a-metal musician to step their game up. Their influence will only continue to grow with the momentum they have now, and while it may take a while for some of us who play to reach that caliber in our own musical endeavours, we can enjoy Kostolom, Misery Sermon and whatever else they put out in the meantime and keep being inspired.