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Terminal Nation – Holocene Extinction

Terminal Nation
Holocene Extinction
by Colum Hill at 30 August 2020, 4:02 AM

TERMINAL NATION are a Death Metal/Hardcore crossover band from Arkansas, USA. They formed in 2014, have recorded several demos, a 2015 EP titled "Waste" and a split with NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP in 2019. "Holocene Extinction" is their debut album, released in August 2020 via 20 Buck Spin. Why do I say Death Metal/Hardcore rather than the obvious contraction of Deathcore? Well, TERMINAL NATION are not a Deathcore band. Firstly, the Hardcore element has much more in common with 90s Beatdown Hardcore than “modern” Hardcore/Metalcore. Secondly, the Death Metal foundation of TERMINAL NATION’S sound is not Brutal/Slam Death (as Deathcore tends to be rooted in) but old school, early to mid 90s Death Metal. As a result, TERMINAL NATION sound like a mid-90s band that never was.

The album starts with a majestic, melodic opening riff before "Cognitive Dissonance" pounds into being. The main riff is a charging crust-chug, with a stomping drum performance and a vocal style somewhere in between mid-90s Hardcore and early 90s Death Metal. The guitarwork is especially interesting. Robinson and Rail play these big, heavy, pummelling riffs that do the job effectively and feel conventional but are actually hard to pin-down - the basis is Death Metal with a bit of Thrash, stomping metallic Hardcore and post-AMEBIX Crust. The result is a sound that doesn’t come at you as unconventional on first listen, simply doing its job channelling the aggression of the music and driving the songs forward, but on reflection the style is rather unique with a curious range of influences.

“Those that bow to their oppressor are the weakest link in the chain of being!” The album has a political bent - the demons of "Holocene Extinction" come in the form of corporate greed and ecological destruction which is clear with song titles like "Coffins for the Poor" and "Expired Utopia". Common more in Hardcore than Death Metal, these sentiments are nevertheless expressed through the aesthetics of classic Death Metal rather than the typical sort of Hardcore/Crust imagery. The reaper on the cover holds a ticking clock over an industrial power plant by a modern, smog-filled city. The message is clear, but the artwork style is clearly derived from traditional Death Metal of the 80s and 90s - not a common combination, but one that works very well.

The title track of "Holocene Extinction" is absolutely pummelling. At a mid-paced stomp, every beat pounds like a sledgehammer as the monstrous bellows of Liszewski (“Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock!”) roar above. “You cannot save a world that refuses to be saved!” The song culminates in a heavy breakdown that combines Beatdown Hardcore shouts, Death Metal growls and full-on Hardcore-style gang chants. Other songs blast by faster. "Master Plan" charges forward with fast thrash beats for the most part, slowing down only at the end. Other songs like "Thirst to Burn" and "Leather Envy" blast by before they have barely begun. The tempo is varied throughout the album, with slow breakdowns, steady mid-paced grooves and fast blasting (that borders on Grindcore at times) all taking their place throughout.

I really enjoyed "Holocene Extinction". I thought that the combination of Hardcore and Death Metal was novel at first (in that this doesn’t sound like a “Deathcore” album) but I was more impressed by how seamless the fusion sounds, with fast, aggressive, old school Death Metal riff sections that could have come from an old INCANTATION album blending effortlessly into stomping 90s Hardcore/Metalcore. I’d recommend this album to fans of both Death Metal and Hardcore - if you like both that is a bonus of course. The riffing is tight, the production is masterful, the style is unique and the songs are memorable after a few listens. Well recommended.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Cognitive Dissonance
2. Arsenic Death
3. Holocene Extinction
4. Master Plan
5. Revenge
6. Thirst to Burn
7. Orange Bottle Prison
8. Leather Envy
9. Expired Utopia
10. Death for Profit
11. Caskets of the Poor
12. Disciple of Deceit
13. Age of Turmoil
Stan Liszewski – Vocals
Tommy Robinson – Guitars
Dalton Rail – Guitars
Chase Davis – Drums
Chase Turner – Bass
Record Label: 20 Buck Spin


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Edited 24 October 2021

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