Review: Replicant – Malignant Reality

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The dumbest smart album you will ever listen to.

Dear readers, friends, Toileteers: you will read all manner of reviews of Malignant Reality that speak of it as a brilliant masterpiece. They will speak of the intelligent songwriting and lofty instrumental work. They will weave tapestries of gilded words of how this won’t be something for the average death metal listener, with their crusty camo shorts and bloated Maggot Stomp record collection. They will tell you this is something for those with more refined musical palates, something that cannot truly be appreciated without deep analysis and a cultivated ear.

While all this praise will certainly be warranted- the album is fantastic, after all- it will paint an entirely false picture of this album. Sure, it may sound impenetrable on the surface with its stacked dissonant chords and bizarre, tipsy melodies, but let me clue you in on a secret: if you’re trying to get into this, just let the music hit you. I tell you this because I had an epiphany about halfway through its run as I was terrifying my cats stomp-headbanging around my living room- this is one of the most low-brow, knuckle-dragging death metal albums I’ve heard all year.

Those grooves are almost offensively ignorant. These riffs have brows that jut so far out you can’t see their eyes. These songs haven’t even discovered fire yet.

Understand that I say all this as a compliment. I’m the type of person who comes to riff-driven death metal to have fun more than to pick apart the subtle nuances of a composition, and Replicant have given me everything I want and then some. Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy the raw skill of the Equipoises and the avant-garde stylings of the Ulcerates of the world, but sometimes it’s best to just shut off your brain and let the music hit. Replicant’s music is more than amenable to that, certainly more so than most acts that can arguably be labeled as tech death.

Beneath that tortured Luc Lemay-style howl, beneath all that caustic dissonance and weird chords and floaty clean guitar, is a vicious hardcore swagger, a bravado usually reserved for the sort of people who earnestly answer put down on one of those surveys that they think they could take an elephant in single combat. Just listen to “Excess Womb;” as a cultured individual, you simply do not put that many pinch harmonics into a single riff. Listen to that whammy bar dive riff at the start of “Coerced to Be” and tell me that any brain cells were used in its creation. On top of that, the groove that comes halfway through that song is also the vilest thing this side of “The Putrefying Road in the Nineteenth Extremity.”

Alright, alright- for all the fun I’ve poked, the writing on Malignant Reality is truly impressive, if for no other reason than they were to able to make it so highbrow and so ignorant at the same time. I’ve heard some friends refer to it as Obscura 2, which is just as fair an assessment as my own. It’s just as easy to sit down and pick through all its intricacies and dissect its theory as it is to just run headfirst into the concrete wall that is its riffs. Just know that you’re a huge fucking nerd if you go for the former.

5/5 Flaming Toilets

Malignant Reality is out now on Transcending Obscurity. Do yourself a favor and pick it up now.

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