Century Media
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Dust Settles On Humanity
02. The Numinous One
03. Against The Sovereignty Of Mankind
04. Atto Quarto The Horror Paradox
05. Quasi-Sentient
06. Hair Dirt Mud
07. More Than Many Never One
08. Der Verlorene Sohn
09. Mysterium Tremendum
10. Leben Ohne Feuer

As observant folk will attest, death metal is a many-splendored thing, perhaps more now than ever before. But if the current scene tends to favor either a dirty, old-school approach or the all-out war of brutal slam, it is still the genre's technical and progressive wing that wields the most creative power. Never less than monstrously brutal but always elegantly overblown, HIDEOUS DIVINITY have been among death metal's most extravagant and daring bands for more than a decade. The long-awaited follow-up to 2019's "Simulacrum", fifth full-length "Unextinct" has an aura around it before a single note is played.

When the storm finally erupts, the Italians are still as mercilessly precise and brutal as any band out there. After the obligatory dramatic intro, "The Numinous One" takes off with startling, aggressive force. HIDEOUS DIVINITY are master blasters from way back, but the intensity of their attack is still growing, with the lavish depths of each pristine arrangement sending additional power to their unholy engines. Echoing the efforts of fellow countrymen FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE and HOUR OF PENANCE, they making death metal that genuinely qualifies as epic in intent and execution.

Jesus H. Lovecraft, this is a brutal piece of work; one perpetually haunted by mythological horrors and existential dread. Produced to seismic perfection, songs like grim colossus "Atto Quarto The Horror Paradox" switch fluidly from a very traditional, dark metal forward grind, to moments of freaked out, icy terror powered by dizzying blastbeats and rapid-fire growls. It is all executed with such skill that each song's internal logic steadily becomes apparent, even as jarring detours delight in confounding expectations. But as sophisticated and inventive as they are, HIDEOUS DIVINITY are not above allowing a lethal hook to puncture that artful, obsidian façade. Despite containing structural multitudes, songs like "Quasi-Sentient" (which sounds like a cyborg VITAL REMAINS serenading the end of the world) and the blackened blitzkrieg of "More Than Many, Never One" are awash with cunning and memorable melodic ideas.

Impeccably produced and at times, sonically overwhelming, "Unextinct" is the kind of big-screen blasphemy that once defined the genre's pioneering greats, but with a state-of-the-art production backing up these virtuoso musicians' self-evident brilliance. The closing "Leben Ohne Feuer" is the tumultuous endgame. It sounds vast and overpowering, like some foul, Lovecraft-ian rumble from the watery depths. This may only be the latest top-tier death metal record, but it's one that wields its own peculiar and unearthly power. HIDEOUS DIVINITY have mastered the dark arts, and this is an absolute monster of their own making. It lives!

Author: Dom Lawson
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