Death metal was not supposed to be like this. Over the course of the genre’s 30-year history, no band has bent the rules so masterfully yet abided by its tenets so dutifully like Rome-based squad Hideous Divinity. On their fourth full-length (first for new home Century Media) Simulacrum, the Italians open portals to new blood-curdling dimensions via profane riffs, superb drumming, and frightful vocals.
Our previous album, Adveniens, marked a clear turn towards a darker, heavily black metal influenced perspective, says Hideous Divinity axemaster Enrico Schettino. We felt we had to become something more than ‘that cool technical death metal combo from Italy.’ Simulacrum took this musical concept and brought it to a new level.
I’d like fans to walk away with the sense that they’ve discovered something new. Something crushing and atmospheric at the same time. I’d like them to see the ghost that is haunting us.
Back with their fourth album, Simulacrum is a significant step forward for Hideous Divinity. Not only does it see the band shake off the shackles of the ‘underground’ tag that has been attached to them but it sees them refine their brand of extreme metal into something that truly stands out in a year of extreme metal.
How does Simulacrum stand up amongst the best of the year so far? Solidly and strongly. We have here a focused and driven album with some legitimately stunning moments of utter chaos and noise. It’s the best kind of extreme metal. The kind that is built on depth-filled rage but delivered in an exciting and so very listenable way.
It’s heavy, so very heavy but with purpose as the head-turning first couple of tracks showcase. Deleuzean Centuries and The Emblamer are a duo of powerful tracks and the perfect start to Hideous Divinity’s brand new effort. The roar of the vocals, the tearing of the riffs, the crash of the drums, the muck-covered rhythm…it’s a combined effort that will drive any fan of the extreme music wild.
The oddness of throat singing sits in between those two tracks and the following Anamorphia Atto III. Called Condense, it’s less then 30 seconds long and serves as a brief lull before the ferocity returns and what a return it is. Anamorphia Atto III is the absolute cream of what Hideous Divinity have to offer here. Mind-numbingly heavy, the wicked nature of the riffs and a cheeky squealing guitar solo see it rise high.
Somehow even more brutalising then what was been heard so, The Deaden Room arrives with fire and fury for a short-ish assault on the senses.
Actaeon has these jabbing guitar wails that add the punctuation on a track that applies even more pressure on the mind before Bent Until Fracture pretends to ease it before unleashing a torrent of metal abuse outwards. It might sound like hell but hell has never sounded so damn good.
Leading towards the end, Seed of Future Horror and Prey to Vision keep the focus exactly where it should be for Hideous Divinity, hard and heavy. Before one of the finest extreme releases of 2019 wraps up with Implemini Exitio.
Think you know what heavy is? You’ve not heard anything until you’ve heard this finale.
The slamming of guitars and drums together is deafening, the vocals joining in with howls and roars before the tempo picks up for a more frantic finish. There is a sharpened edge to this closer and it’s serrated for true flesh-ripping pain.
Hideous Divinity – Simulacrum Full Track Listing:
1. Deleuzean Centuries
2. The Embalmer
4. Anamorphia Atto III
5. The Deaden Room
7. Bent Until Fracture
8. Seed of Future Horror
9. Prey to Vision
10. Implemini Exitio
Hideous Divinity - Simulacrum (Century Media Records)
The Final Score - 9/10