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Alluvial – Sarcoma Award winner

by Leanne Evans at 29 July 2021, 2:08 AM

Following on from their spine-tingling debut full-length, “The Deep Longing for Annihilation”, the outstanding American atmospheric death metal outfit ALLUVIAL have taken a masterful turn in their journey with their sophomore album “Sarcoma”. The beginnings of the band were rooted as an instrumental collaboration, their epic debut paving the way for a blend of technical virtuosity and chilling prog-melded atmospheric brilliance. ALLUVIAL’s next move? Well, these guys now have the intoxicating death growls of vocalist Kevin Muller on board, just to dish up that extra slice of masterstroke distinction and really make sure they penetrate your deathly soul.

The album’s entirety consistently delights, merging the melodic and darkly atmospheric and melding the piercingly haunting with warped soothing comfort. The overt continuation from the progressive death feeling debut pushes into a transfixing exploration of musical diversity, without straying too far from unhallowed deathly roots. Album opener “Ulysses” is a blood-thirsty brute, a swell of anticipation in the guitars that then break into razor-sharp riffs and asphyxiatingly tight drums, a cut of sheer brutality at its best. The constant vocal onslaught rips into you with a sprawling sonic malevolence until the album breaks into “Thy Underling” where a cleaner delivery entices and the opening riff hooks itself into your skin, drums pounding and pulsating throughout, driving into a blistering assault on title-track “Sarcoma” spewing its wretchedness from start to finish.

ALLUVIAL are unafraid of exploring genre parameters, not just dipping their toes in the water, but fully immersing themselves, saturating their sound with pleasing shades across the sonic spectrum. The prog feeling “40 Stories” is a shining example of gripping melody, dialing it down a notch but still executing a healthy slab of discomposing quietude with the spine-tingling vocal contrast of Wes (boy, who knew he could God-damn sing?!) and Kevin (sincerely, this is an incredible track for the vocals alone). Contrastingly, “Exponent” moves into more of a deathcore sounding territory, chunky and imposing, and then breaching the barriers “Sleepers Become Giants” announces itself with plenty of technical death moments.

Pushing further, ALLUVIAL reach dizzy heights with “The Putrid Sunrise”, bursting at the seams with a classic death fetidity yet bringing all the boisterous energy of solid thrash riffs.  And, my God, do these brilliant death brutes know how to deliver a smattering of unnerving fragility as an apt cooldown in the stunning “Sugar Paper”, a track that calls and beckons as you listen to it. Entirely instrumental, it fascinates with a stunning prog blend, initially awash with a delicate frailty akin to the gentle flutter of a butterfly’s wings. Creeping, this sprawling beast builds to pummeling measure, with passages that will floor you and perfect virtuosity that will wrap its noose around your neck, death-grippingly tight, yet pleasurably addictive. Bookending this strapping album, “Anodyne” is anything but dull with its rambunctious rhythm and belting vocals that blow your face straight off. This is an album to. Die. For.

“Sarcoma” offers ten delectably malodorous cuts, as dark as your empty soul could wish for and wrapped in all the technical virtuosity you could dream of. ALLUVIAL have produced a striking full-length that pacifies and transfixes as much as it channels gnarly aggression and snarling ambience to satisfy the deepest, darkest pit inside you. These guys aren’t just good, they’re utterly magnificent and “Sarcoma” is a masterpiece to behold.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Ulysses
2. Thy Underling
3. Sarcoma
4. 40 Stories
5. Zero
6 Exponent
7. Sleepers Become Giants
8. The Putrid Sunrise
9. Sugar Paper
10. Anodyne
Kevin Muller – Vocals
Wes Hauch – Guitars
Matthew Paulazzo – Drums
Tim Walker – Bass
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 03 February 2023

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