Metal legends Monstrosity are returning this year with their sixth studio album titled The Passage Of Existence September 7th, being released via the almighty Metal Blade Records. Other than releasing a live DVD (Live Apocalypse) back in 2012, the band has not released material since 2007 (studio album Spiritual Apocalypse). That eleven year wait finally ended in June when the band released album details and a hammering new single ‘Cosmic Pandemia.’
For anyone who is unfamiliar, Monstrosity began in the thick of the rising death metal scene in Florida back in the early 90’s and have delivered relentless material since their inception. The band featured vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (now of Cannibal Corpse, duh) on their first two records, which is how I discovered their powerful presence. Pioneers in their own right, the death metal group began with that thrashing bare bones speed prominent to the early 90’s sound and have expanded into more technical territory with each release.
I will be one of many to admit that this news of a new release has me extremely excited. It is always remarkable to see bands that crushed back in the day continuing to push their sound and create something fresh. Except what Monstrosity does on ‘Cosmic Pandemia’ is not only fresh for them, but refreshing for the death metal genre in 2018. With a lot of bands pushing for top speed, technicality, or precision these days, these guys wrote exactly what this song needed and didn’t get carried away. The track definitely does deliver on a balance of precision and technicality, except it has that old school death metal spirit embedded in it. It is clear from this first single that these guys took time to make sure everything sounded just right, so let’s get into it…
Coming in at just over the four and a half minute mark, the Floridian five piece open up ‘Cosmic Pandemia’ with a simplistic palm muted riff that they develop for a good minute. The way they build this simple riff in the beginning into an entire enthusiastic introduction definitely showcases their seasoned songwriting skills. Drummer Lee Harrison provides very solid double bass grooves in the beginning which is nothing new for a veteran like him. He employs unique fills for each transition, switching between trudging breakdowns on the hi-hat and precise double bass for a majority of this song. Although it is not a fast song by any means, Harrison stays busy behind the kit, utilizing what seems to be his entire drum set. As well as being the drummer, Lee Harrison is also a founding member of the group and has been the only consistent member over the course of the bands existence. Of the new record he states: “Don’t play this recording on a cheap portable radio or your tiny earbuds. This album was built to be played loud on a killer system.” The polished production provides a very punchy percussion sound and also a very distinguishable guitar sound, meant to be played on a good sound system. Each instrument, including the vocals, has a defined lane of its own and is mixed perfectly together to create a massive and crisp sound.
Vocalist Mark Hrubovcak was acclimated with the group on their prior release Spiritual Apocalypse and fit right in with their sound, providing a very nice low growl. With the latest single, Hrubovcak steps it up a notch and completely adds more power behind his vocals. He comes in with this roaring growl filled with strength, making it really shine on this record.
A proud moment and easily my favorite part of the song is the guitar solo segment. Introduced into the track with this smooth squealing harmony, the shred provides a masterful sound over the unique drumming and bass line accompanying it. The guitar bleeds over the instrumentation where we hear these guys getting a bit more into tech-death territory in this segment. This part just reaches out and demands your attention, it also plays to the point I made earlier about them expanding their sound.
Full of headbanging grooves, technical tidbits, and ripping riffs, ‘Cosmic Pandemia’ represents a new beginning for old school death metal group Monstrosity. It is the first track off of the new record The Passage Of Existence and is a pristine example of where these guys can take their sound. This single is just the start of new things to come and I can’t wait to see what else these guys have done on this record, as I am definitely expecting more speed on the other tracks. Stay tuned and be on the lookout for this massive release on September 7th.
Pre-order ‘The Passage Of Existence’ out September 7 via Metal Blade Records HERE