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Mental Cruelty – A Hill To Die Upon

Mental Cruelty
A Hill To Die Upon
by Thomas Kumke at 17 August 2021, 3:02 PM

MENTAL CRUELTY were formed in 2014 and they are from Karlsruhe, Germany. They are a blackened brutal Deathcore band and they released one demo, one EP, and two full-length albums so far. Their third full-length album “A Hill To Die Upon” was released via California label Unique Leader Records, the specialists in brutal technical Death Metal and Deathcore. The album has a length of about 43 minutes.

MENTAL CRUELTY are back two years after their last full-length album “Inferis” and my first impression was that it sounds fairly different from the previous release, especially regarding the songwriting and production. While “Avgang” is an instrumental intro, “Ultima Hypocrita” gives some indication what to expect: the traditional Deathcore pummeling alternating with breakdowns and in addition to that, atmospheric sound supported by orchestral arrangements. The guitar riffing is aggressive, the drumming is relentlessly delivering double-bass and blast-beats, the vocals are brutal growls ranging between the low to medium end of the gutturals, but also includes screams and pig-squeals, and the lead guitars towards the end of the track are uncharacteristically playful and melodic. “Ultima Hypocrita” is almost dominated by the orchestral background that provides a sinister atmosphere. It also includes choral elements which support the vocals.

Abadon” continues with the doom-laden atmosphere and is beside “Extermination Campaign” the song that is very much inspired by modern Black Metal. There are sequences where the orchestra completely takes over, but even if not, it is ever present throughout the whole song. “Abadon” is a mid-tempo song, the breakdowns are not the dominant element in this track. The overall sound is very melancholic and dark and the combination of guitars, bass, drums, orchestra, and chorus makes “Abadon” probably to the darkest song on “A Hill To Die Upon”. “King Ov Fire” has more straight-forward textures compared to “Abadon” but the overall sound remains gloomy. There are a few tempo changes on the track ranging from head-banging rhythms with catchy guitar riffs to blast-beat infernos with melancholic lead guitar solos with orchestral arrangements in the background. “King Ov Fire” was released as video and the YouTube link is given below.

One feature on “A Hill To Die Upon” is the bombastic sound on the album and songs like “Abadon” and especially “Eternal Eclipse” as well as “Death Worship” are prominent examples for this. Both, “Eternal Eclipse” and “Death Worship” continues with the dark sound and the orchestral arrangements intensifying the darkness. After a two minutes instrumental interlude, the Deathcore mayhem continues with the title song which is the fastest song on the album including blast-beat thunderstorms, classical breakdowns, and a contributing lead guitar solo. While the orchestral arrangements are still present, they are here much more in the background. The album closes out with the longest track “The Left Hand Path”, an epic journey through the gloominess of “A Hill To Die Upon”.

MENTAL CRUELTY deliver an album that is certainly their best to date. The band has worked very hard on improving their sound and “A Hill To Die Upon” is a very good blackened Deathcore album. MENTAL CRUELTY understood it very well to create a symbiosis of traditional Deathcore with atmospheric depressive Black Metal inspired vibes. The application of orchestral arrangements and its diversity across the album worked very well and indicates an excellent songwriting. The album is very well produced. Deathcore and modern Black Metal fans will dig this album and will be excited to see MENTAL CRUELTY playing their new material live.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Avgang
2. Ultima Hypocrita
3. Abadon
4. King Ov Fire
5. Eternal Eclipse
6. Death Worship
7. Fossenbrate
8. A Hill To Die Upon
9. Extermination Campaign
10. The Left Hand Path
Lucca Schmerler – Vocals
Marvin Kessler – Guitars
Nahuel Lozano ­ Guitars
Danny Straßer – Drums
Viktor Dick – Bass
Record Label: Unique Leader Records


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