It’s shaping up to be a stellar year for slamming death metal, with brutal releases already from the likes of WITHIN DESTRUCTION and INGESTED. Now it’s time for the return of Germany’s STILLBIRTH – and they’re taking no prisoners. Fifth album Annihilation of Mankind is an evident step up in terms of brutality and groove – no wonder Unique Leader Records want a piece of the forthcoming carnage. Like its namesake, this record absolutely annihilates the lugholes.
Opening track Fictional Entertainment would please Unique Leader fans with its similarities to other bands on its roster; the unforgiving brutality and technicality of EXOCRINE coupled with the bold grooves and stomping riffs of DYSCARNATE and not forgetting the outrageous slam elements of INGESTED. This is going to be a death metal fan’s idea of paradise. Enemy of the Enemy is when we really start receiving a colossal battering. The rumbling bass is akin to the impending doom of a hardcore beatdown, but we don’t get away so lightly. Instead we’re subjected to screeching guitars, slamming screams, ferocious drums and a glorious DECAPITATED Organic Hallucinosis-esque riotous middle.
Hypnotized By Lies is an impeccable slab of hardcore riffs, slamming beatdowns and just an outrageous violence to proceedings. INGESTED fans will approve. Psychological Manipulation begins as a straight-up death metal track but the extreme vocal expertise of Lukas Swiaczny comes to the fore. A disgustingly awesome track, it is utterly unforgiving.
Firstrike is a bit of a stomper. Not as obliterating as previous tracks, it feels like more of a slow death. A terrific groove kicks in after a minute and a half and pulls you in further. The technicality of this track shines amongst the dimness of the concept. Next track Highest of Malice features the incredible Duncan Bentley of VULVODYNIA, so you know it’s going to sound like the aural equivalent of getting your face ripped off. Bentley has guested on several tracks this year including songs by WITHIN DESTRUCTION and MIRE LORE, but this just tears a new one. Steam-rolling their way through the album, we’re halfway through Annihilation of Mankind already. Still alive? Stay with me.
Torturized says it on the tin. With an enticing beginning, it soon pulls you in for a hiding. This song is absolutely insane. The same could be said for the epic Plague of Warfare, with its intriguing electronics which gives this belter an extra edge. This is a no-nonsense track. It gets the job done of obliterating our senses and leaving us helpless in its wake. With spectacular deathcore screams, things take a menacing turn. This darker vibe continues with Torn Apart. Absolutely superb.
The ferocious drums and guitars in Nuclear Stench make it one of the most instantly punishing tracks on the album. However, when The Sky Turns Black kicks in you’ll immediately run for cover. A fantastically fast-paced tune, the old DECAPITATED influences are back again but STILLBIRTH ramps things up tenfold with their hardcore beats and irresistible grooves.
Annihilation of Mankind is brought to a crushing close with its title track. It is four minutes of all that STILLBIRTH have to offer. If you haven’t already gathered what I mean from reading this review, then what I mean is PURE, RELENTLESS BRUTALITY. Listen at your own peril.