Tech Death Thursday: Cytotoxin – Gammageddon



Cytotoxin have once again dropped like an atom bomb, and I’m here to yell at you about it.

First, some news:

  • While they’re not really tech death, Dyscarnate are on Unique Leader and that’s close enough. If you’ve been looking for something new to bench to, look no further than “Iron Strengthens Iron.” Get swole as shit when With All Their Might drops on September 15th.
  • Cognizance has a new song streaming over at Metal Injection. Cognizance being Cognizance, I figured I’d know exactly what this was going to sound like before I clicked on it, but it actually threw quite a few curveballs (in a good way). Also, that art is rad.
  • Joaquin mentioned this already on Monday, but ARCHSPIRE
  • Tech playthroughs are always cool to watch, especially when they’re from First Fragment. Check out this insane drum performance of “Le Serment de Tsion” at Gear Gods, along with tour dates for their upcoming outing with Vale of Pnath and Virvum(!).

It’s been a solid five years since Cytotoxin graced us with a new album and almost three since Jack Bauer talked about Radiophobia back in our younger, more innocent days. Concerning the band, not much has changed since then; they still have their unhealthy obsession with Chernobyl, they still nail that balance of slams and weedlies, and even the production is largely unchanged. So it’s just more of a good thing; pack it all up, review over, right?

Well, not quite. Cytotoxin weren’t satisfied with just popping out Radiophobia II, and Gammageddon is a pretty big step up from its predecessor. They’ve taken the most extreme elements of their sound and ratcheted up the intensity, trimming away all the unnecessary fat in the process. Specifically, they cut way back on the 16th note tremolo-riding sections that were so prolific on their last release. It’s not until “Antigenesis” that they show up in any major capacity, and even then, the song has enough other stuff going on to keep it interesting. The band is in constant motion now, never staying in one place or on one riff for too long.

Gammageddon gets straight to the point, kicking things off with the monstrous “Radiatus Generis.” Within the first seconds of the song, you’ll know exactly what you’re in for; you’re immediately greeted with a stream of hammer blasting, diminished sweeps, and a triple-layered pig squeal/croak/guttural growl. A slight drop in tempo brings a thick chugging riff peppered with sweeps similar to the opening, mutating into something more hideous as it goes on. It sprouts extra notes and contorts in unnatural ways, breaking down entirely halfway through into a nasty start-stop variation. The band explodes into a flurry of notes there before finally coalescing for the last minute or so a riff that I can only sufficiently describe as brutal, cliché as that may be.

This ending is one of my favorite parts of the album, and it shows the band’s aptitude not only for songwriting, but for studio work. The multiple layers of guitars and vocals make it hit harder than any part other part of the song, and even though it might all sound like one thing repeated over and over at first, there are subtle changes in the chords, bass, and drums that keep it dynamic through its run. As it comes to a close, you can hear the crescendo of a ticking Geiger counter along with the cadence of the riff. It’s a super creative way to tie their music and lyrical themes together, and I love it.

Beyond that, there’s not really much more to say. Despite the band throwing tons of notes at you per song, they do a good job of making all those clusters of shreds and chugs sound different from each other, from the mind-boggling title track to the festering crawl of “Chernopolis.” It sounds cleaner than one expect of a nuclear fallout-themed band, but all the instruments come out clearly and have good tone. The vocals are more savage and varied than ever, far more dynamic than most brutal death bands manage. Gammageddon is everything I could have wanted out of a Cytotoxin album and then some.

If you like what you heard today, you can purchase Gammageddon through Unique Leader (digitally at their Bandcamp). Follow the band on Facebook for tour dates and more shenanigans with U-235. That’s all for this week, so until next time,

Stay Tech

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