Album: Annihilation of Mankind
Label: Unique Leader Records
Genre: Brutal Death Metal, Grindcore
Release Date: 31 August, 2018
When I’m perusing the giant list of pre-releases Metal Utopia has up for review, every once in a while I’ll pick a band purely on their album artwork and go in blind on their sound. Enter Stillbirth’s new record, Annihilation of Mankind. The cover features a post-apocalyptic world where a heavily armored man has a frog head on a spear preparing to fend off the incoming abominations. Oh, and marijuana seems to be growing like, well, weeds. When I saw this I was thinking it was some extremely heavy stoner/doom or stoner/death mix and I was pretty excited. However, what I was met with was some brutal grindcore that is littered with pig squeals…. Yikes. As you have probably deduced, I’m not a fan of this style of music and especially this style of vocals. But I made my own bed, so now I have to lay in the Stillbirth.
I should start off by saying that this is Stillbirth’s fifth album and the members of the band are no slouches. They are all musically talented in their own right, and they are signed by Unique Leader Records. For the more intense and underground metal fans Stillbirth has been brutalizing their ears for years now.
The album starts out on an extremely intense note with Fictional Entertainment (fitting title though…). The song is only a minute and a half of blistering fury from the band. The production is a little muddy which makes sense considering the style of music they’re playing. However, the guitar leads tend to get too buried in the mix if you ask me. The bassline throughout this track is the star for me, it is loose and heavy. The vocals have already started to bother me ninety seconds into the record, luckily the bassist also brings his own harsh shrieks into the mix that I much prefer.
The next track Enemy of the Enemy, is my final positive moment from the record. This is a full-length song coming in around four minutes and it gets exhausting to be honest. I do happen to love the riff that is happening during the chorus of this song. It’s fast, clear, groovy and fun and really drives the song. If Stillbirth would have focused more on their groove as opposed to the sheer brutality I think it would have benefitted the record. The drumming also was extremely impressive throughout the track, but as a whole the song feels fairly forgettable to me.
As the album continues on for the remaining ~40 minutes or so, it becomes even more redundant. Pig squeals, fast chuggy riffs, breakdowns, blast beats: Rinse and repeat. Something that I feel could have benefitted this album would be to trim the fat a little bit. Forty-five minutes isn’t an extremely long album, but it is a lot of grindcore to get through in one sitting; too much for this reviewer. If the record was closer to thirty minutes in length and they focused their attention more on the groove and song structure as opposed to the brutality and heaviness I believe I would have found more enjoyment and had an easier time hitting play.
This album reminded me of when I first started getting into metal music right before high school. I was exploring this new found heaviness I was enjoying all the way into the deepest darkest depths of brutality. Then Job For A Cowboy released their Doom EP that went viral before “viral” was ubiquitous. I instantly fell in love because I hadn’t heard something like it yet, and the pig squeals really grabbed my attention. A few listens later I realized how the pig squeals were becoming more and more grating, and honestly they seemed lazy because the words “kill” and “smile” for example when done in a pig squeal sound the exact same… I quickly became bored with the sound and moved on from the band (Until Sun Eater, holy shit check that album out!).
Stillbirth seem to have found and stuck to a formula when composing their songs. “Is it brutal? Yes. Is it loud? Yes. Does it bree? Yes. Then, put it on the record!” Other than the vocal styling there isn’t a ton about this record that I truly dislike, but honestly there is even less that I do like about the record. Annihilation of Mankind was a tedious endeavor that left little to no impression on me. The only way I can see myself returning to this record is to show a “metal casual” that the music i listen what “Loud Noises: The Album” truly sounds like.
1. Fictional Entertainment
2. Enemy of the Enemy
3. Hypnotized by Lies
4. Psychological Manipulation
6. Highest of Malice
8. Plague of Warfare
9. Torn Apart
10. Nuclear Stench
11. The Sky Turns Black
12. Annihilation of Mankind
Total Playing Time: 45:46
I’m pretty great. Just ask me, I’ll tell ya.