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Sons of Famine - As Razors Gnaw Like Wolves Award winner

Sons of Famine
As Razors Gnaw Like Wolves
by Damian Smith at 04 September 2019, 7:46 PM

Extreme Metal is a genre that’s predicated on bands striving to outdo one another, whether through technicality, or just sheer, brute force. These ongoing attempts at one-up-man-ship have long kept fans searching for the fastest, heaviest, and most brutal music they can get their hands on. However, these days it’s also a genre that has become very heavily saturated, with many bands inevitably coming across as either derivative, or just uninspired. For that reason, it’s always kind of exciting when you discover one of those rare gems that stands out, and seems to understand how to write music that is vicious, and punishing, without sacrificing on songwriting and memorability. On their debut album, “As Razors Gnaw Like Wolves,” SONS OF FAMINE have, in my opinion, found a way to demonstrate how it’s done. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air amidst an ever-increasing slough of forgettable noise.

Before we delve too deeply into this thing, though, let’s handle the introductions. SONS OF FAMINE are a Blackened Death Metal band from Chicago, Illinois who formed in 2012. However, a visit to The Metal Archives informed me that the band’s members have actually been active since 1992, and previously played together in another band called CORPSEVOMIT. So, this is a group that’s had plenty of time to grow and hone their chops together.

The album opens with, “Lord of the War Cry,” a scathing blast of speed, and misanthropy, which initiates us to the punishing pace of what’s to come. In spite of its intensity, the track is laden with vocal hooks and catchy riffing. It’s probably a good idea to listen to this song in your own space, lest you start shoving everyone in your immediate vicinity. “Surge of Steel” was another early favorite of mine. The grinding, d-beat section about a minute into the track is straight up pulverizing. Ough!

It starts to set in, after a few tracks, that there’s really no letting up with this album. This is kind of the aural equivalent of being chased by a pack of feral dogs. Even through its dense ferocity, however, the band managed to keep my attention, and each song is full of surprises. “Cunting Gavage” was probably the biggest of these surprises, for me. The song is plenty unrelenting, to be sure, but there are some moments here where the band loosens it’s grip on your windpipe long enough for you to breath a bit. There’s a nice, atmospheric section towards the end of the song where the music gears down to more of a mid tempo march. The layering of the chanted vocals in this part almost resembled something you might find on a GOJIRA record, which is probably the furthest thing away from what I expected on an album like this.

It’s abundantly clear that SONS OF FAMINE are capable of blistering speed, and brutality in spades. What impresses me most about this album, however, is its creativity and diversity. SONS OF FAMINE’s ability to pepper in those anthemic, riot inciting hooks, as well as some honestly powerful, and momentous sections is what set this thing apart for me. It’s cultured, and well-written. But, make no mistake about it; this album will still leave your goddamn face on the floor.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Lord of the War Cry
2. Surge of Steel
3. Hail the Aggressor
4. Cackling Whips Consume
5. Exterminate
6. As Razors Gnaw Like Wolves
7. Shit Tower
8. Cunting Gavage
9. Vigorous Procession of Death

Patrick Clancy – Guitar
Tom Flanagan – Guitar
Zion Meagher – Bass
Garrett Scanlan – Drums
Matt McClelland – Vocals

Record Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions


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