Zombiefication – Below the Grief (Review)

ZombieficationThis is the fourth album from Mexican death metallers Zombiefication.

Zombiefication play death metal that’s dark, covered in underground filth, and delivered in an atypical fashion that speaks highly of the band’s talents as artists. Their music is atypical in the sense that they may take influence from several of the old-school masters, but at heart they’re firmly their own creation, and their songs are filled with interesting and unexpected nuances and subtleties.

The songs have a black metal quality to them too, so corrupt and foul is the death and doom they belch forth into the world. Blackened melody and dissonant harshness add to the density of the songs further, making for mutated, crawling things that sound like they’ve been found rotting to death at the bottom of a swamp somewhere.

There’s definitely a certain vibrant energy to the songs though, especially when they’re playing at a fast-but-not-blast-beat speeds. Some of the slower sections can be quite atmospherically affecting too, and it’s clear that the band understand the importance of dynamics and pacing.

As well as the more unusual elements of the music, (mainly in the form of imaginitive guitars and songwriting in general), the vocalist’s voice is quite striking. The main vocals used are a form of shouted bark that would probably sound more at home on a hardcore album than on a death metal one. They work, however, and are just another example of Zombiefication’s natural inclinations to do whatever the Hell they want with their music. And more power to them.

For something that, on face value at least, is simply an old-school death metal album, Below the Grief is surprisingly complex. The blackened influences certainly make an impact on the music, but it’s the band’s twisted sense of songwriting and creativity that really make Zombiefication stand out from the pack. Below the Grief is a very individual album. Yes, you can hear certain influences, as mentioned above, but when you play Zombiefication you pretty much know it’s them.

With an emotive depth and atmospheric substance that’s lacking from a lot of the more brutal/underground extreme metal bands, Below the Grief is an impressively individual album. Zombiefication continue to carve their own path through the musical landscape, and this is a very enjoyable listen.

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