Alluvial: Sarcoma-2021.

Alluvial:Death Metal from United States.

Discography:

The Deep Longing for AnnihilationFull-length2017
SarcomaFull-length2021
Tim Walker
Bass
See also: Entheos (live)
Matthew Paulazzo
Drums
See also: AegaeonSarasvatiThe Zenith PassageDecrepit Birth (live), Upon His Flesh, ex-Amiensus, ex-Abiotic (live), ex-The Black Dahlia Murder (live), ex-Astral Blood, ex-Aetheric, ex-By the Thousands, ex-What’s Left of Legends
Wes Hauch
Guitars (lead) (2016-present)
See also: Glass CasketDevin Townsend (live), ex-Black Crown Initiate, ex-The Faceless, ex-Thy Art Is Murder (live)
Kevin Muller
Vocals (2021-present)
See also: The Merciless Concept, ex-Pyrexia, ex-Dysentery (live), ex-Suffocation (live)

Past Members:

Keith MerrowGuitars (2016-2018)
See also: Conquering DystopiaDemiseryMerrowNightmarer
Songs
1.Ulysses04:58  Show lyrics
2.Thy Underling04:02  Show lyrics
3.Sarcoma03:22  Show lyrics
4.40 Stories04:42  Show lyrics
5.Ø01:27  Show lyrics
6.Exponent03:24  Show lyrics
7.Sleepers Become Giants03:06  Show lyrics
8.The Putrid Sunrise03:38  Show lyrics
9.Sugar Paper05:43 
10.Anodyne03:56  Show lyrics
 38:18 

One response to “Alluvial: Sarcoma-2021.”

  1. Death By Wall of Text, June 14th, 2021
    I was very curious about this album. Alluvial started as an instrumental collaboration between Wes Hauch and Keith Merrow – the latter being the main reason I got into the project in the first place. This record is the result of Alluvial turning into a full-fledged band led by Wes Hauch (and this time without Keith Merrow) and yes, with vocals. It was bound to be quite different, but has it retained some of the unique Alluvial-ness of the debut? And well, most importantly, is it actually good?

    Yes and yes. This is definitely a somewhat different beast to The Deep Longing For Annihilation – Sarcoma is mostly faster, tighter and more focused. A lot of the slow-burning gloominess of the debut has given way to more modern riffing and songs with a more focused and regular structure, unlike the more meandering, proggier tracks on the former. Still, there is a touch of that flagship Alluvial atmosphere and ambience, and it’s easy to tell that the riffs were written by at least one half of “Alluvial 1.0”.

    Despite the somewhat radical change, the band clearly doesn’t shy away from that either, as Sarcoma opens with a very obvious nod to how the debut album ended – just before it hits you in the face with the razor-sharp, tight opening of “Ulysses” which instantly feels more aggressive than anything on the debut. The verse riffs have that relentless machine-gun quality to them with just a hint of gloomy melody, sounding almost tailored to Kevin Muller’s aggressive growl (which lies somewhere between the delivery of Jens Kidman of Meshuggah and a more traditional, lower death metal growl). Then we get a massive, massive mid-tempo chorus which is surprisingly catchy. And a chuggy… breakdown, I guess?… towards the end, which is another novelty to be found here.

    One major difference and massive improvement over the debut is the mix and production – I’d even go as far as saying Sarcoma is as perfect as modern extreme metal production can get. There’s just enough air in the sound and every instrument gets exactly the space it needs to deliver maximum attack (the bass is actually quite audible this time!), it’s ubertight without sounding sterile or dry, and the end result is just incredibly tight and brutal. It feels perfectly tailored to the material, but in itself it’s just near perfection in how good and tight (yes, I’m using this word a lot in this review) it sounds.

    From other compliments, there are definitely at least three stand-out tracks on the album. “40 Stories” blew me away as soon as I heard it as a single, and it’s likely the greatest piece on this album – it’s actually slower and with more subdued verses (with a very Alluvial-ish clean guitar) sung… apparently by Wes Hauch himself, who delivers some deep clean vocals on this album and it sounds just amazing. If that wasn’t all, the way his vocals interact in the chorus with Kevin Muller’s growls is one of the greatest vocal arrangements I have ever heard and the whole track just overflows with emotion and power. This is the closest to how I’d have imagined “Alluvial but with vocals” and it works just perfectly.

    Another one is “Sugar Paper”, the only instrumental track on the album and apparently another direct nod to the debut (with a dedication to long-time Alluvial fans) – it sounds like all my favourite moments off The Deep Longing For Annihilation (especially “Gabrielle”, “Compound” and “Occlusion”) fused into one track on steroids, with some gorgeous clean passages, lead playing and proggy riffing. Finally the closing track, “Anodyne” is one of the fastest on the record, with a very intense, thrashy main riff and another massive chorus – it’s a perfect fusion of speed and aggression with a touch of melody.

    The rest of the album is overall rock solid, if maybe with a slight dip around the middle – “Exponent” has a slight Meshuggah vibe and includes some ominous dissonance (and is preceded by “Zero”, an even more ominous and unsettling interlude), but I feel it’s just missing a little… something, whereas “Sleepers Become Giants” actually feels in parts like a more straightforward rock track (!) and while the idea in itself is cool, I feel something of a disconnect between the chuggy, growled verses and the marching, mostly clean chorus. Both tracks also feel like the only moment of the album that relies on chugging riffs a bit too much – and they’re both not bad at all, but I can’t help feeling they could have been fleshed out a little more.

    And if I were to have any criticism of this album, it would actually be in this vein – just like the debut was a bit short of being a masterpiece due to its structural and technical shortcomings, I feel Sarcoma could have used just a bit more of the atmospheric and proggy elements to be a proper candidate for a masterpiece. As it stands, it’s a damn good album of mostly fast, tight material – but it hints (especially on “40 Stories” and “Sugar Paper”) at a side of the band that still remains unexplored to a large extent, and one or two more tracks that make more use of Wes Hauch’s massive clean vocals and Alluvial’s flagship skill at creating murky, cavernous ambience would take Sarcoma to another level.

    In short – this is still Alluvial, but a somewhat different Alluvial which hits hard, fast and never risks overstaying its welcome, and some (but not all) of said risks taken by the debut have given way to some more reliable and usually very effective methods. The debut album was a slow-burning grower which took time to get into its layers, Sarcoma is a tight piece of brutal precision with a touch of ambience and an excellent modern production to boot. It’s definitely at least fulfilled expectations for a band that basically had to reinvent itself, and now…

    Guys, it’s time for the third album to be the masterpiece which I feel Alluvial has been teasing me with since the band’s creation. I’ll be waiting.

    Like

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