Vulvodynia – Mob Justice (Review)

Vulvodynia - Mob JusticeThis is the third album from Vulvodynia, a death metal band from South Africa.

If you haven’t encountered Vulvodynia before, they play brutal slamming death metal, and do it extremely well. Along with a handful of others they’re pretty much at the top of the pile when it comes to this sort of thing.

After the wondrously vicious assault that was 2016’s Psychosadistic Design, I’ve been eager to see what Vulvodynia would do next. As it turns out, they’ve cranked up the death metal and really gone for the throat.

Eschewing the alien/murder themes of earlier albums, Mob Justice concentrates its 35 minutes on real world horrors, and gives us 9 tracks, (and the usual death metal pointless intro), of visceral, heart-pumping music. Vulvodynia don’t just sew random riffs together and hope that it takes as a song, they carefully craft their death metal into dynamic, energetic music. Due to how brutal and nasty it is it probably doesn’t seem that way to the uninitiated, but this is leagues above most slam/deathcore/brutal death metal stuff.

The vocals twist and turn throughout the songs, offering up everything from harsh screams to ugly shouts, to deep growls, to gurgling pignoise, and seemingly everything else too. Added to by some guests, (including the notable singer of The Black Dahlia Murder), the variety is as strong as the overall vocal performances.

The riffs are huge and crushing, slamming down onto the listener without remorse. The band have an easy mastery of this oh-so-easy-to-get-wrong side of the style, and when it’s done well as it is here, it really highlights how generic and poor most slam bands are. Crucially, however, Vulvodynia don’t neglect the purer death metal side of the style, and throw in not only blistering blast beat speed, but also slower and mid-paced sections that ramp up the darkened atmosphere, really adding depth to the songs. The end result is music that absolutely rips.

I can’t stress enough how impressive it is that the band take the strengths of the frequently one-dimensional slam style and jettison the weaknesses, replacing them with death metal ferocity and considered dynamics.

Yes, for all it’s apparent barbarity and base horror, this is an intelligently crafted album. This is the kind of release that lifts up brutal extremity to a murderous art form, and Vulvodynia have released a record that not only hits the spot, but tears it apart.

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