CONCRETE – Free Us From Existence
- by ER
- Posted on 28-10-2020
It’s no surprise, then, that the opening salvo "Executing Vengeance" recalls Pantera’s "Primal CONCRETE Sledge" (thus the name?) but even more so Living Sacrifice’s "The Martyr" (whose debut eponymous was very Panteric) as well as the aforementioned Hatebreed (the latter most significant on "Starving Serpent", the ending riff very akin to "Last Breath). This being Concrete’s 4th album (after 2013 "Deadlock", 2016 "No Dawn" and 2017 "Everything Ends Now"), the influences come at no surprise given the many similarities. Frontman’s Lenny Fletcher’s gruff death growls recall Bruce Fitzhugh (Living Sacrifice) on one hand, but also Erik Rutan’s (Hate Eternal) particularly on the closing favorite "Apthotic Mirror" where Concrete is at their absolute best. Of a significant note are also: the Meshuggaic "Psychological Crucifixion" with echoes of Immolation’s "Failures For Gods" and "Close To The World Below" perfectly complimenting both the lyrical "I’m buried beneath the weight of the world" and the ending which is very similar to Killswitch Engage’s "Rise Inside", and the Kataklysmic "Path Of Fire" where the effective declamation "save your pity for the ones who desire it" separates it from an early Machine Headian slow down, all 3 aforementioned standouts showcasing single guitarist’s Jon Dorn’s impressive guitarwork as well as knack for memorable riffing the kind Dimebag used to churn out seemingly in his spare time.
As for the section, it works best in short numbers Doug Reynolds (bass) and Ryan Centurioni (drums) working out a cohesion similar to Christian Olde Wolbers (bass) and Reymond Herrera (drums) on Fear Factory’s iconic "Demanufacture". In fact, "World Tomb" has similar styling to "Cyberwaste", one of the tracks which the "Archetype"-absent guitarist Dino Cezares said had been cut and pasted from "Demanufacture". If "Psychological Crucifixion" crushes with the heaviness unbound then "World Tomb" shows that production makes or breaks a "down for life" metallic hardcore album, and that, thanfully, Shane Frisby and Pete Rutcho (Revocation, Bury Your Dead) have done an excellent job whereby both weight of a riff and, at times, complex guitarwork, beautiffuly and effectively coexist for a great impact. But it is in those short tracks, roughly half of the 7 track album, where the cracks in songwriting suggest the tendency for minimalism, most notably on the good but not great "Parasites". Hopefully, the shorter tracks represent the echoes of their more hardcore past and the more metallic, deathly longer ones are indicative of the future direction.
While "Free Us From Existence" is neither "Vulgar Display Of Power" nor "Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire" stylistically it borrows from the attitude of both plus there is a clear early Machine Head nostalgia in some of the guitarwork. I recommend the perfect death metal anthem "Apthotic Mirror" as well as "Psychological Crucifixion" for a sketch of what Concrete is all about – a great antidote to that present evil age which it both showcases and denounces.