Aug 212012

(In this post, DGR reviews the latest release from Toronto’s Tyrant of Death.)

The Tyrant Of Death name should probably be familiar to a lot of you by now, especially since I’ve started making appearances at the lovely NCS. Tyrant Of Death is an industrial death machine that occasionally drifts into grind-filled territory, made up of two musicians. One provides the vocal work and the other, by the name of Alex Rise, handles the musicianship and most of the footwork.

For a long time Tyrant Of Death was an instrumental guitar project. Some of the releases (and there have been a ton) have come to include a lot of vocal work provided by musician Lucem Fero. Lately they’ve seemingly rotated, one instrumental, one more vocals-based. Also, until recently, the Tyrant Of Death stuff has been free (and occasionally still is) as a show of good faith. That changed with the last disc, ReConnect, which I thought was a good album but not necessarily the best of their work.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that the Tyrant Of Death project is still prolific, releasing a flood of material, although not quite at the breakneck pace of previous years. Only five months have passed since ReConnect, yet here we are again with another album called Cyanide. This one is largely instrumental, with the occasional vocalization (if you can even call it that) to provide atmosphere. As such, it’s something of a return to previous sounds and at the same time a combination of many older elements into something new.

Because of this I have to apologize that this review may be shorter than what I usually write (I know some of you are already looking for the nearest razor) due to the fact that Cyanide is Tyrant Of Death boiled down to its very essence. It is a disc consisting of a giant wall of loud guitars, relentlessly fast drumming, and eerie-as-hell song structure.

Cyanide is a much darker, more aggressive-feeling work than ReConnect was. Whereas Reconnect was something of a mutated, slow-crawling monster that spoke in gurgles and shrieks, Cyanide is its louder, faster, more bombastic brother. The first track feels like a static burst transmission of absolute anger, with echoing guitar reflective of material on Macrocosmic Lunacy. Cyanide is probably less electronic-focused than the previous three or four Tyrant Of Death releases, but it still has an incredibly strong representation. However, the new release calls to mind something of the holy trinity of Tyrant Of Death albums that hit last year: It sounds like a combination of the madness that made up Macrocosmic Lunacy, the utter ferocity of Dark Space, and the experimental leanings and production of Alice’s Heroin Wonderland.

The artwork however, is reflective of the black-and-white motif that appeared on the single for From Earth To Hell. You can see it at the top of this review, and it kicks ass. Alex is really good with the artwork for Tyrant Of Death, and one of the bonuses of liking the project’s Facebook page is the opportunity to see the constant artwork postings, because man, that dude is one of the better guys armed with a powerful computer, an image manipulation program, and a taste for the macabre.

Because Tyrant Of Death has such a massive discography, some moments on Cyanide feel a bit like they’ve been done before on earlier releases, especially that holy trinity from 2011 that I mentioned above, and if you have been keeping up with earlier coverage, then you’ll note that the earlier single From Earth To Hell pretty much falls right in line with what’s present here. Unless you know a ton about guitar work, a lot of Tyrant Of Death material, including this one, will seem built to fit a certain mood. For instance, they must be huge fans of their somewhat off-kilter tuning on the guitar, with some hefty echo effect, because that makes frequent appearances here, and you’ll also hear an incredible amount of fast-paced drumming.

It’s not a catchy disc by any means, but very few of Tyrant of Death’s songs have been. However, if you’re in the mood for something relentless, that’s this project’s bread and butter. You could probably do a spin of Dark Space and this release and then be ready to go to war. Yet Cyanide also delivers the impressive Orwellian atmosphere that Tyrant Of Death tries to go for with its industrial machine of death metal. There are constant references to worldwide destruction in the vocal samples, and a song titled “Life Unworthy of Life” tends to spell out what you’re going to get.

We now have two discs that Tyrant Of Death has released with a specific price point on Bandcamp, and both offer incredibly different experiences. As noted, ReConnect was a slower, more traditionally vocal-based crawler of an album; it focused heavily on electronic work and leaned heavily on the industrial side of the spectrum. Cyanide is completely on the other side, being largely instrumental and fast-paced; though the electronic samples and screamed vocals are still present, they are sparse. However, I can’t help but like this disc more, simply because I think that Tyrant Of Death really realizes its potential when it is just overbearingly oppressive.

There are few ways to do that without getting boring, yet Tyrant Of Death has always found its groove in relentless brutality and the loud production. Sometimes the drumming goes so fast that it seems physically impossible, but it fits in well with the hyper-speed movement of  the guitars. When things do fall into the headbanging groove, they’re so heavy that you’re liable to get whiplash.

That said, I come back to the overwhelming sense of familiarity the music will bring to those who’ve been following this project for a while. We know that Alex can go very fast and create some hammering music, but it feels like it is time to start expanding upon that sense of speed. Cyanide will seem amazing to people who are new to this band and it is certainly a great disc to spin if you want your ass kicked, but I can’t help but quietly hope for a slight shift to some newer experimentation, in order to avoid giving fans a sense of “been there, done that”. If these guys can find a way to mix new things into the whirlwind of chaos that they constantly create, then Tyrant Of Death will feel very fresh for a very long time.

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  4 Responses to “TYRANT OF DEATH: “CYANIDE””

  1. Just listened to the stream. It’s pretty good stuff. I have been getting more into industiral/electronic music recently. What are some other industrial/electronic bands that I should check out?

    • Oh man, I don’t know. I’m fucking awful with recommendations. There’s a couple of artists that this guy works with sometimes, such as Khaozone and Return To Base that are pretty good. Sybreed are also really good. Iperyt are a really abrasive industrial/black metal band from Russia that had a pretty good disc hit recently. Also, if you’ve haven’t gotten the chance and can ignore their dumb look, Psyclon Nine’s last two discs are fucking great.

      • Oh yeah, and Strapping Young Lad. There’s a huge amount of the same production style used on City through Alien present in a lot of T.o.D work.

    • Black Comedy – Instigator (now called Sphere – upcoming album has no name yet)
      The Interbeing – Edge of the Obscure
      Breach the Void – The Monochromatic Era
      Blood Stain Child – Mozaiq + Epsilon
      Cruentus – Terminal Code
      Illidiance – Damage Theory
      Silent Descent – Duplicity + Mind Games
      Ludicrous – Promo 2011
      All for Fake – Забудь себя
      Mythosis – Mind Built Prison
      The Luna Sequence
      Toxic Grind Machine

      Ok that are just a few bands + some albums I have in mind. Sybreed have been already mentioned but not with enough intention. They are THE best band in the whole area of industrial metal!!! 😀

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