rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Existential Dread
02. Binary Paradigm
03. Irradiated Miscreation
04. Purity of Purpose
05. Ancillary Biorhythms
06. Haunted Symmetry
07. Decomposing Divinity
08. Oppositional Defiance
09. Biological Absurdity

Deep within the impenetrable darkness of the brutal/technical death metal world, MALIGNANCY are certified heavy weights. Active since the early '90s, the New Yorkers released one of the most commanding debuts the genre has yet produced, in the form of 1999's "Intrauterine Cannibalism": a towering monument to gutturals and blasts that was years ahead of its time. 25 years later, the brutal death metal scene has expanded beyond all recognition since those avowedly underground days, but MALIGNANCY are still well equipped to rise above the rest. Their first album of new material since 2012's "Eugenics", "…Discontinued" is so strong in every department that it almost feels like everyone involved is taking a lap of honor.

Wasting absolutely no time, "Existential Dread" unveils MALIGNANCY's refreshed agenda with a devastating flourish. Viciously fast and precise, it benefits greatly from a shrewd and impactful production that allows guitars to shine darkly, and every kick drum and snare slap cutting sharply through the maelstrom of riffs. Brimming with abstruse tempo changes, skewed grooves and moments of jaw-snapping syncopation, this is brutal death metal at its most uncompromising. But while many of their contemporaries revel in anti-commercial deviance, MALIGNANCY have constructed real songs from their fundamentally hostile formula. "Binary Paradigm" offers an exquisite collision between old-school DM directness, and wonky-eyed, dissonant experimentation, as vocalist Danny Nelson negotiates the complex landscape of riffs like some unstoppable, predatory beast; "Irradiated Miscreation" conjures the specter of radiation sickness over a truly wild maze of visceral guitars and unfathomable drumming; and "Ancillary Biorhythms" takes the prize for most bewildering display of technical prowess, with a thrilling torrent of twists, turns and mind-threatening terror.

It is the nature of the brutal death beast that "…Discontinued" is a relentless and unforgiving onslaught, but there are subtleties and depths here that few of MALIGNANCY's contemporaries can match. The sheer force of collective personality that drives a song like "Oppositional Defiance" along is impressive in itself, as these underground stalwarts further assert their superiority over the common herd. Still hell-bent on nudging up their speed, aggression and songwriting perversity to new levels, they have met their own meticulous, high standards and delivered another monster.

Author: Dom Lawson
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