June 25, 2009 | | 3

Whisteria Cottage, Heathen

Whisteria Cottage: Heathen

It was about this time last year that I first was introduced to Whisteria Cottage through their recently released demo — I recall being fairly impressed with that effort. So how did a year under their belt help out on their first proper full-length? Pretty good, actually.

While this Baltimore crew don’t reinvent the deathcore genre with Heathen, it’s the band’s delivery and intensity that really sets them apart from crowd. Their abilities alone should be enough to get casual fans of the style in a barbaric frenzy in record time. Each note is delivered to its fullest with a fistful of fury and destruction. Thick guitars pummel with massive riffs one moment and then tear off into slick leads the next. The rhythm section lay down some earth rattling blasts and fills to accompany the vicious vocals, which only seem to have gotten more aggressive since the demo.

Sure, these dudes aren’t pushing the envelope, but it’s damned near impossible to not get caught up in their brand of deathcore/metalcore — this shit is catchy, violent and hits rapidly with plenty of energy.

Pathology Of Our Existence
“Pathology Of Our Existence” opens up the album with a brief sound byte from “American History X” before erupting into a bludgeoning blasts of guitars, drums and growls. Once the guys get into their groove you’re pummeled in the back of the skull with beefy riffs, guttural growls (mixed with higher end screams) and rapid fire drumming. The first breakdown at 1:40 is bruising and rolls slowly over you like a steamroller. There are some decent, melodic guitars throughout the song that contrast wonderfully with the aggressive rhythms and vocals.

Human Disfigurement
Deep guttural vocals and maniacal drumming mix with evil guitars to get this next one off to a ferocious start. The melodic guitars come back as the band gets into their stride. The pace for the first minute is unrelenting until 1:05 when the group slows it down briefly with some great guitar work and creative drumming. The layered vocals add depth to the song just before the thundering breakdown at 1:40. There’s plenty of head banging to be had throughout the song.

“Confined” is a rerecording of one of the tracks from the band’s demo and I’ve got to hand to the guys. Not only is this rendition more solid in terms of performance, it’s delivered with a violence and aggression on a completely new level when compared to the demo version. This one is like a sledgehammer to the balls, followed by a series of loving curb stomps. “Confined” will leave you bruised and battered, but grinning for more.

Failure To Succeed
After that bone crushing beat down that you just took the last track, Whisteria Cottage decide to tear you limb from limb with speed and technical precision with this next song. The pace on this one is blistering and straightforward as the guys throwing driving riffs and rapid fire drumming all over the place. The higher end screams and scorching while the slick guitars carry your along, hurtling head first into a pile of debris at the end of the track. For all its speed and intensity, this song will also crush you with massive riffs and thundering drums.

Baled To Death
Dark and foreboding, the riffs on “Baled to Death” accompany devastating screams and growls for the first few seconds before the band settles into a high paced, pummeling groove. There are more than enough tempo shifts in this one to keep you on your toes and head on a swivel, on the look out for the next blindsiding riff. The melodic guitars just before the 1:30 mark are a nice chance-up from the thicker tones the guitars have had on previous songs. The track ends with perfect shout-along-with vocals.

“Enticement” fades in smoothly from the previous track before rocketing into pile-driving rhythms and raw vocals. The guitars throughout Heathen have a Swedish death metal feel when they take on more melodic tones. It’s a nice contrast to the more straightforward, bruising riffs the band also utilizes. Speaking of bruising, the breakdown around 1:30 will leave you just that with beefy guitars and thundering rhythms.

Devour Thy Throne
More Swedish death metal influenced guitars accompany some of the more aggressive, higher shrieks on the album. The drums throughout the first minute are unrelenting in their attack. “Devour Thy Throne” is pretty straightforward with it’s blasting drums and face peeling screams. The discordant guitars at the two minute mark add some much needed chaos to the rhythmic bludgeoning that we’ve taken so far on the album.

The title track starts out with blasting drums and driving guitars throwing the most ADD affected of us into a spastic frenzy. After that initial eruption of activity, the band slows it down with bruising riffs and steady drum work to accompany plenty of screams and growls. Don’t get too comfortable though, the pace is ratcheted back up into higher gear with a quickness. You should have a sufficiently sprained neck after the breakdown that ends the short song.

Your Cremation, Our Reclamation
Here’s another song taken from the band’s demo that, due to the more polished production, comes across that much better than the original. This track has some seriously crushing groove that’s infectious and unavoidable — head bang like your life depended upon it. Thick guitars and pummeling drums will beat the living hell out of you on this one.

A Misconception
“A Misconception” starts off violently with machine gun drumming and chaotic riffing. The vocals on this one feel a bit restrained and reeled in. That’s not to say they don’t hit like a ton of bricks, but they certainly don’t have the same feel as the rest of the album. Overall, however, this is a solid song complete with several tempo shifts and some nasty guitar work.

Your Broadcast Is Interrupted
The album’s closing song is the last of the rerecorded demo tracks. It starts with aggressive, creative drum work and driving riffs. It’s definitely a better performance than the demo and jumps from tempo to tempo like a marionette in a mine field. It’s controlled chaos, but just barely. The breakdown at 1:30 is just as brutal as it was on the demo, except with a slightly thicker tone as the guys head into a galloping bit of crushing metal. The track ends violently, leaving a lasting impression.

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Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: