HOLY SHIT this album goes hard. I don’t normally start a review that way but I had to make it incredibly apparent The Nine Choirs is an absolutely crushing slab of hardcore infused death metal.
I was first drawn to this album thanks to its unusual art work and then saw that it was a Maggot Stomp release, so I knew that it was going to be top quality death metal. However, nothing could have prepared me for just how savage this album was. From start to finish its just absolutely punishing in the best way possible. Imagine if your favourite death metal bands from the 90s had grown up on hardcore and based their rhythm and energy on that but maintained the raw aggression and filth of death metal. Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore because you can just listen to this album right here.
The guitar tone is impressively downtuned and heavy, bringing down constant waves of crushing riffage on the listener’s head. While this isn’t in any way slam, it shares a groovy undercurrent with the genre that makes this album just as headbangable as a slam release. You’ll get a solid mix of hardcore style riffage mixed in this these heavy distorted riffs too. You’ll even find a killer solo of too in the mix. All of this is backed and enhanced by the album’s unrelentingly high energy drum work which very clearly draws its influence from punk origins but mixes that with death metal technicality and speed. Lastly, we have the bass, which is thick and loud in the mix, adding even more heaviness to an already crushing release.
The vocals are insanely powerful and explode out of the mix, pummeling the listener from start to finish. There are two styles employed, a deeply guttural style and a harsher more barked style. Each balances the other and together they are an unstoppable force. They perfectly suit the album’s instrumental work, both in force and tone. The only downside to harsh vocals being this powerful is that it becomes hard to understand the lyrics, often a fact that I don’t mind but when the band writes lyrics as esoteric and interesting as these it makes me wish I could.
Overall, this album blew me away with its sheer power, heaviness and aggression and I know for a fact that I will be coming back to it regularly. This is the type of album I want to be blasting on full volume when I fly down country backroads at high speeds. Put simply, the album gets the blood pumping and the head banging and I know for a fact that this would absolutely destroy a venue live. So, if you haven’t had a chance to listen to the album yet, please do yourself a favour and do so right now.
Listen to and order the album: