Sulaco – The Prize (Review)

SulacoSulaco are a grind band from the US and this is their third album.

It’s been seven years since 2011’s Build & Burn, and it’s about time for something new from this band.

Sulaco are a multifaceted beast, and their extreme metal is a layered, spiky affair. It doesn’t seem right to really refer to them as grindcore; although this is a suitable appellation in many ways, it doesn’t really do justice to the type of carnage that the band unleash. Across their songs they dabble in elements of grindcore, death metal, punk, hardcore, doom, progressive metal, and others, all in their quest for aural extremity and sonic harshness.

The tracks spread out across a mere 26 minutes of music, but what a wild ride it is! Twisting and turning into unexpected avenues and tightly compressed corners, the music is hyperactive and constantly mutating, bringing some new aspect of its deep personality to light almost every few minutes or so.

Technical, atypical, non-standard riffs and structuring is the norm for Sulaco, but nothing is allowed to ever become too random or unhinged. The makers of this complex beast have a firm handle on things, controlling the mayhem so that The Prize may sound intimidating and unapproachable in many ways, but once you learn to navigate its pseudo-chaotic veneer it provides ample reasons for doing so.

Despite what my words above may have lead you to believe at this point, this is intelligently-conceived and well-considered music. The changes in direction during the songs are controlled and focused, and the band know the value of pacing, dynamics, and providing a focal point for the listener’s attentions, even if this frequently updates itself.

Of course, the band also know when it’s advisable to lock in on a particularly effective riff or section, and they do this with ease. Once it’s reached the limit of its usefulness though, they show no compunction in discarding it and moving on to the next. This form of quality control has served them well on The Prize, and the entire album is a very enjoyable listen, assuming you like having your face ripped off and molten confusion poured into you brain.

So, the new Sulaco album has been worth the wait after all. Explore this album’s labyrinthine turns as you will; I’m not sure what The Prize actually is, but it’s worth trying to find out.

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