EP Review: Munitions – Remote Death

EP Review: Munitions - Remote Death

EP Review: Munitions - Remote Death
Reviewed by Eric Clifford

The banded willow tarantula (delectamentum ano, in taxonomic terms) is a species of arachnid notable for, amongst other things, a highly aggressive temperament, nomadic behaviour, year-round activity, and venom said to be comparable in pain to slamming one’s testicles in a car door. With a legspan up to 15 centimetres across, and it’s active hunting style, the spider is often seen darting from one space to another at high speeds in search for prey. Human development has proven a boon to the spider, which can frequently be found lurking in any convenient household crevice; quick to bite and prone to immediate and unprovoked attack, the banded willow is responsible, cumulatively, for more fatal bites than any other comparable candidate, especially on the elderly or very young. The animal seems to have no inhibitions about mounting repeated and frenzied assault upon prey many times it’s size, and will quite happily attack humans. In one particularly nauseating incident, a banded willow was observed to have crawled inside the rectum of a sleeping man and savaged his prostate from within, hence the nickname amongst arachnophiles of “the rectum nibbler”. The man was rushed to hospital, whereupon the spider fell out of his anus and made war upon the hospital staff, who finally bludgeoned it to death with a fire extinguisher.

Now, all of the above is of course total bullshit, but had I told you that this spider was Australian, would you have been so sure I was lying?

Munitions are Australian, which is relevant because they certainly sound as though they’ve grown up surrounded by unreasonably evil wildlife. This EP presents something of a dichotomy however; the first two tracks speak of the cream of early 2000’s to modern day death metal, heavy influence plucked from the likes of Aborted and The Black Dahlia Murder, even a good chunk from latter day Cannibal Corpse. The last two tracks differ substantially though, going for an epic sweep more reminiscent of God Dethroned, early Kataklysm or perhaps even the harsher fringes of metalcore – Heaven Shall Burn perhaps. That the two approaches never really coalesce is true, but when both styles are done as well as they are there’s limited room to mount a counteroffensive on the apocalyptic martial pummelling that “...And This is How You Die” obliterates you with. For “Remote Death” doesn't just start playing, no, it unleashes. Somewhere in the calm before the storm sparks flare among the tinder; armageddon beckons. A barrage of blastbeats announces the arrival of the war machine, a kinetic beast of chugging, shrieking, and nimble solo work, some belching iron juggernaught churning cadaver-strewn earth before it. The kick/snare interplay with a demented thrash riff near the midsection is an auditory curb stomp; yet the ravaging persists. Perhaps scenting survivors, the band resume fire with incandescent ferocity. Discontented with a mere high explosive hemicorporectomy, the war machine reverses, treads flattening you from tail to tip till ruptured guts burst spurting from your mouth. If the thrash elements were...unsubtle on the previous song then they are at you with the bayonet here. This is what i’d always hoped for from slayer when Kerry reached for the downtuned guitar; percussion like rolling thunder heralds further vicious beatings; god help you from there, as scything shredwork and a riff like a battering ram pulverise what’s left of you.

EP Review: Munitions - Remote Death

Gears shift and the engine slows, flames within flicker down and return to slumber within the hot heart of coal embers. Streaming black smoke , choking and soot laden, dwindles to a trickle, curling like the devil’s tongue to lap the underbelly of the grey skies hovering above. Clogged tracks shudder to stillness, mired and quiet in wounds gouged in the flanks of mother earth. Mighty leviathan, sated by blood mixed well with smouldering mud heaped high about it. A hundred years hence, there shall be none of this; the behemoth long forgotten, wandering out of from the memory of man with the souls of those who died terrified driven before it. A gentle meadow will thrive there, young shoots set deep to mingle with ground bones that linger peacefully, little harsh edges of what was within what is, and what shall be.

If the fury does not abate fully, it nonetheless morphs. Tracks 3 and 4 adopt a wholly different palette, mournful and grand. If the first half wad the battle itself, then this latter half is the hand of the reaper come creeping from the void to draw in the fallen. Solemn melodies, touching almost on blackened territory in part, pervade throughout. Sat far more squarely in the angrier reaches of melodeath, it evokes more the forlorn tragedy of the final hopeless charge in the teeth of overwhelming odds, the commitment to a parting blow that even the victor may have wounds to lick. Catchy if morose, more hooks than Pinhead’s wardrobe, played with airtight precision, Munitions multifarious interpretations of death metal are absolutely commendable and resoundingly successful in all instances.

I’d have appreciated a synthesis of the styles, but then, this is only an EP. A display of the full arsenal has yet to grace us with hellfire for now, but if the band can maintain this level of craftsmanship on a full-length then it will be the most fun you’ve ever had feeling like an album is trying to beat you to death with a shovel.

EP Review: Munitions - Remote Death - The Razor's Edge - Thrash Metal - Death Metal

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