I first heard Acrania when they released their split with Blue Waffle and I was immediately hooked to their wicked slams. Ever since then I have been eagerly awaiting the release of their first EP. That day has finally come, and The Beginning Of The End certainly exceeded my expectations.
Unlike most other bands, Acrania don't just stick to one formula. They're not afraid to experiment with their sound and include elements from several different genres. They're sort of like Cursed Altar in a way. First and foremost, they're a brutal death metal band, but the slams they play are more akin to deathcore. Normally I hate deathcore, but they manage to combine it with brutal death metal so well I don't even notice it. Not only do they bring forth massive payloads of brutality but they also manage to sprinkle in some melody and colorful technical displays.
They even manage to get in some clean guitars. Thought you'd never hear those on a brutal death metal album. They first appear on “Auctioneer Of Depravity”. They act as a soothing yet ominous intro for the brutality to come. They also appear on “Dimensional Molecular Transcendence”. The jarring transition from balls-out brutality to dark, almost dream-like clean guitars is enough to make you go, “Woah! What the fuck just happened?”
The vocals are incredibly diverse. Like all other brutal death metal bands, he utilizes deep monstrous growls, but he also dominates the high section with lots of vicious screams. He also performs lots of inhaled growls that add an extra element of nastiness to the music. Sure, there are a few bree brees on this album, but they're not too bothersome. At least he isn't talking about how much he likes shredded wheat.
The instrumentation is superb. The drums excel at playing fiery blast beats with lots of double bass, complex fills and crushing slow sections. The bass provides a great deal of muscle to their brutal assault and are even given a few spotlight moments where they can show off a great deal of flair, such as on “The Depopulation Program”. The guitars are just as diverse as the vocals. They still play the chugging rhythms that are a hallmark of slamming brutal death, but they also play a few riffs that have a great deal of groove, as well as a few riffs that show off their technical skills. I was most amazed by the wicked solo near the end of “A Trophy Of Corporate Disfigurement”. I later learned that this solo was performed by Kevin Schwartz of Pathology. Awesome!
The Beginning Of The End is easily one of the best brutal death metal albums I've heard in a long time. Not only do they flawlessly play slamming brutal death metal, but they also include elements of melodic death metal, technical death metal, and deathcore in a way that doesn't feel contrived or forced. Everything feels natural, every element fits nicely with each other. These guys have so many fresh ideas, and I'm eager to see what they'll craft next.