We’re told that the members of Indiana’s Enemy of Creation are veterans of the underground hardcore scene, and you can tell from listening to the music that they didn’t abandon those roots. But on their forthcoming sophomore EP Victims of the Cross they’ve spliced them with different forms of metal — mainly thrash, but with (as their label says) “the occasional nod to death metal greats Obituary and Bolt Thrower“. And as you’ll discover through our full streaming premiere of the EP, those references still don’t exhaust the differing elements that the band have integrated to create a wonderfully multi-faceted — and relentlessly electrifying — release.
The opening song, “Paradise Is Punishment“, sets the hook quickly and simply with a dismal, sinister little guitar melody, which the band then carry forward as the bruising embellishments of the rhythm section come in. The song proves to be a big mid-paced neck-wrecker, but many other things as well. It thrashes, it seethes sadistically, it jolts like a pile-driver, it sends off fanfares of grim melody, it shivers and squirms like a lunatic mind. Meanwhile, the hardcore yells and gang shouts add to the song’s fury, and there’s also a swirling, screaming, fret-burning solo to cap things off.
What a wonderful amalgam of stylistic influences that song is, and it’s also a great stage-setter for the next four songs. They’re just as furnace-like in the fury the band direct, both lyrically and musically, against the predations of the church. And they’re just as multi-faceted, juxtaposing bouts of brutal, bone-fracturing, head-hammering force with flurries of razoring riffage and hard-thrashing mayhem, accented by extravagant soloing and miserable yet seductive melodies. The music feels like a merciless mauling, a jack-hammering demolition job, and a wild, racing melee — usually within the same song. At all times, the vocals are flat-out incinerating in their fury.
One trip through the EP is enough to kick your pulse-rate into overdrive, and it’s so damned electrifying, so successful in keeping you on your toes as the band relentlessly shift gears, that it quickly becomes addictive. Reaching the end, the compulsion to immediately run the gauntlet from the beginning again is almost irresistible. And it provides a great go-to for those times when you need to jolt loose your adrenaline or just get your own rage out of your system without risking jail time.
Speaking of reaching the end, the EP’s epic closing track, “Buried In Guilt”, begins in surprising (and heartbreaking) fashion, revealing yet one further dimension of the band’s multi-faceted interests. But after that grief-stricken start, and the bleak yet almost majestic oppressiveness that follows it, the band kick in the afterburners — and also deliver one of the most hugely headbangable grooves on the EP, as well as a passage that merits the term “anthemic” — before jolting your head hard enough to loosen the molars.
Victims of the Cross is a big surprise, and a very welcome one. Definitely make time to give it your full attention.
The EP was produced by Andrew Nelson (ex-Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Arthur Rizk (Outer Heaven, Tomb Mould), and it features the visual art of illustrator Suri, who has previously created works for the likes of Enforced and Tragedy.
Victims of the Cross will be available on cassette and as digital download via Camo Pants Records on August 30th, and it’s available for pre-order now: