By Thor

New York deathgrind veterans, Malignancy return with a new album of ambitious extremities and a variation on their signature “controlled chaos” approach to metal with “Eugenics”.

“Eugenics” is essentially a concept album featuring songs including “Type Zero Civilization”, “Extinction Event”, “Global Systemic Collapse”, “Separatists”, and “Creatures of Conformity”. These titles more than hint at what that concept is and much like their previous albums, these musical tales of terror and sci-fi madness are well conceived.

Danny Nelson’s vocals remain indecipherably guttural, shifting pitches from garbage disposal depths to maniac screams like no one else in the genre and the down-tuned riffs of Roger Beaujard (who moved from drums to bass a couple albums ago) and guitarist Ron Kachnic remain deceptively technical while adhering to an over-arching primitive brutality. And much like Beaujard did performed on previous albums, drummer Mike Heller varies tempos in unpredictable waves, resulting in blinding virtuosity that snaps into devastatingly heavy sludge and back, at times within the span of a single measure.

This album is a bit longer than the releases the band has unleashed in the past. It’s also much more polished. This is the result of employing a metronome in the studio for the first time. The aesthetic of the band’s individual elements remains familiar, but the sum of those elements results in songs that have less topsy-turvy chaos and instead feature a tighter, more robotic feel.

If I have a criticism, it’s this: I’d always admired the fact that Malignancy sounded like a horrifying monstrosity, an organic THING that can’t be stopped. Their more polished approach saps a bit of that viscerally abominable vibe that their past output delivered and as such this album gets a little monotonous after a while. Mind you, it’s not that the songs get progressively more boring, but rather the almost too-tight execution of them becomes exhausting. But this is certainly a matter of personal preference and this criticism most certainly functions as a positive to many metal heads. With it, I’m essentially picking nits.

“Eugenics” is Malignancy’s most ambitious project to date. It’s a mature representation of what they’ve become known for and the album is a must-own for their fans as well as fans of any pulverizing and primitive forms of extreme music.