Ever left your house, walked down the street and met someone who immediately started punching in your face and you wouldn’t be able to do anything else than absolutely agree with every hit you take? Then you’re absolutely right if you wanted to listen to the latest release by Arkansas outfit Terminal Nation, who jam the shit in your face with the political statements that are conveyed with their powerful and energetic Death Metal sound.
This is the absolute shit – this is where you wanna have your Metal music. Damn, to me as a boy coming from the Punk and Hardcore side of music, only listening to the vigorously shouted intersections of the tracks on this release lets my heart skip a beat already. But first things first – Terminal Nation is a band that moves tightly between the lines of Death Metal and Hardcore, coming from Arkansas and having opened their discography with their first demo in 2014. At this point, the Hardcore sound still was enourmosly prevalent and only hints of the favor towards Death Metal were hearable. After that, two EPs, a split and another demo followed, which means that Holocene Extreme marks the debut of the first full-length release. Only taking a look at the split partner being infamous US antifascist Black Metal outfit Neckbeard Deathcamp leaves no questions open. The content of these songs going by the names of “Church of the Gun” or “ICE Watch” already go by a clear line. I absolutelty favor the political content that is obvious in this blasting Death Metal mixture. Having this debut released via 20 Buck Spin, an absolute cornerstone of quality Death Metal, surely is something a lot of bands dream of – and the right move for this album.
The sound on Holocene Extreme sticks closely to the previous release, yet the Hardcore sound of the first demos still remains present on sequences here and there. This is also one of the first aspects that marks the characteristic of this release. There is a wild mixture of a lot of different sounds that can be heard throughout the entire release. Predominantly, there is this stomping mid-tempo, riff-based Death Metal sound that might only hint at Hardcore going by the variable vocals of frontman Stan Liszewski. This album is a wildfire strongly reminding of big names such as Xibalba during furious mid-tempo outburst as well as Fuming Mouth when it hits the marks of blasting and fast sequences, which could also be heard on the previous split, where Powerviolence outbursts spiced up the bone-grinding parts of pacing violence.
On the entire album, a characteristic Death Metal sound comes across that is predominantly underlined by the harsh guitar melodies on top of the mid-tempo rhythm and vocals that are somewhat in between shouting and growling. Nevertheless, the many alterations in speed and sound are an aspect that showcase a difficulty of solely stamping a single genre on this record – and this is also what marks the greatness of this release. The energy that comes across is always fuelled when the tempo changes between fast and slow kick in.
Apart from that, the interplay during the tempo-switches is an absolute highlight as well. On the one hand, there are furious and fast outbursts in which classy Hardcore / Powerviolence guitar play is accompanied by blasting drums – yet a second later we switch into a full break and take the instrumentation almost to an entire halt. During these sequences, the drums slowly pace along with the vocals whereas the guitar sometimes even steps into the background. It seems as if exactly these passages are used to convey the messages of the album – because at these spots the vocals also switch from fierce Grind shouts back into the former Hardcore vocal style so as to be able to understand every single word that is said. When Stan starts bursting into “THE SYSTEM IS NOT BROKEN – THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS ALWAYS MEANT TO BE!” at the end of “Master Plan” you get the idea that we arrived at a message that is of utmost importance to understand this album.
This is also what is another absolutely convincing aspect of this release. The instrumentation, the sound and the wrath that is conveyed alone is massive already. However, the content of these songs is also exactly what you need during times of the current global pandemic. We are faced again with worldwide injustice, poverty and capitalism as a system of ever-reproducing inequality. When investors and corporations still earn ridiculous amounts of money while the low end of society struggles with even paying their bills in order to secure their health, this album rubs absolute salt into the wound. It is war that is a fabricant of money for the largest corporations (“Death for Profict”) as well as health of the poor (“Orange Bottle Prison”). Just take a look at any aspect that is currently discussed in the light of the current pandemic and you will be able to identify a track on this album you can connect with. If y’all struggle with the political stance that is transported on this album – go tell someone else.
9 / 10