This is essentially modern progressive death metal, but with a distinctly personal slant. That’s a bit too simplistic a description though. The promo blurb mentions bands such as Opeth, Gorguts, Black Crown Initiate, and Fallujah, and I can see why. To this list I’d also add bands such as Gojira, Meshuggah, and The Odious in places, but you get the idea. The Smothering Arms of Mercy is reminiscent of a mix of bands such as this, but without coming across as derivative or plagiarised. Growth have developed a voice of their own, and it speaks powerfully.
The music is colossally heavy, and it’s backed up by a big sound. I mean, like huge. This acts as the perfect vehicle for the band’s crushing dissonance and off-kilter rhythms. So far, so typical of djent-adjacent releases. There’s more to this though – a furious death metal influence, for a start. Moments of post-metal resplendence can be heard too, adding texture and emotive resonance.
The influence of modern progressive metal can be felt keenly, drawing the band’s influences together into well-developed songs that combine spine-cracking heaviness with emotional intelligence and dark feeling. These tracks clearly mean a lot to Growth, and that comes across loud and clear in their delivery and songwriting.
The vocals offer up a range of styles, including deep growls, harsh shouts, rough semi-cleans, and outright singing. It’s a delivery that further helps differentiate what the band has to offer when compared to ostensibly similar outfits, (of which, there aren’t really that many actually, due to the smashing together of the different influences mentioned above).
The Smothering Arms of Mercy is a very accomplished and enjoyable album that has a lot to offer connoisseurs of modern extreme metal. If you’re looking for a daunting slab of atypical heaviness that has a firm emotive core, then I heartily recommend that you spend some time with Growth.