Although almost a year late, Voluntary Mortification a Christian deathcore band based out of Lansing, Michigan released their debut album “Suffer to Rise” on the July 22nd, 2022 via Rottweiler Records. This concept album tells the tale of Paul’s soul’s descent into the torments of hell and his ultimate redemption. It also speaks of Paul’s regret at shunning the notion of the afterlife before his death, to him ultimately emerging “renewed and reinvigorated as a vindicator for Truth in a world that has lost its way”. The band aims to be “a light in the darkness for those who are broken and hurting”.
The album opens with “Wages of Sin” which has an eerie intro leading up to the ambient soundscapes that is set forth in the album. “Death Tremors” plunges heavy into guitar chugs meddled with screeching vocals that’s sure to scare the brains out of you. The slow chugs end the song just the way it started. “Vindicator” establishes on the formulaic and offers little experimentation with the song arrangements. We hear a deathcore grind throughout the song that oscillates between screeching and guttural vocals layered on blast beats.
“Valley of Slaughter” starts off with ambient raindrops and dives into heavier guitar chugs that somehow felt repetitive. As with its predecessors, the vocal delivery oscillates between guttural and screeching styles. Having a demarcation on the Verse and Chorus helps structure songs, but somehow, I felt that I wasn’t getting close to identifying one. “Silence” builds itself on a catchy riff right from the outset, that carries the song well. The odd time signatured guitar riffs that is sitting right in middle of the track adds some complexity to an otherwise formulaic structure.
“Demoncratic Society” sounds heavy with staccato styled guitar chops and drops that meddles well with the barraging vocals. “The Cull” has elements of djent riffs that gets heavy and engaging, and vocal blurbs and blurts add a menacing tone to the song. “Abomination” has elements of thrash metal paired with guttural vocal delivery with added blast beats and a rumbling bass line that delves into doom genre and sneaking back to the thrash styles.
“Suffer to Rise” started and strutted more as a Doom styled guitar riff with loud cymbals and crashes, that again couldn’t establish a solid verse or a chorus and felt moving in all directions. “Into Your Hands” sounds like an interlude not sure why its sitting so close to the end of the album, instead could have found a spot somewhere in the middle. The album ends with “Crush the Serpent’s Head” which blares loudly with the song tittle, and sooner than later delves into maddening blast beats and a guitar riff that resonates well with the overall song arrangements.
Production: I’ll be honest when I say that I did not love the production on this album. The guitar tones were blaringly loud (I felt that the patches left a lurking sound), the vocals although quite distinct, felt loud and not well balanced. The songs however crisp felt deficient on bass tones and the bass was missing in action.
Conclusion: I somehow felt this genre wasn’t cut out for me as I wasn’t able to get myself to listen to these songs on repeat. I’m an avid listener and look forward to guitar solos and improvisation but that was thoroughly missed on this record and I wasn’t happy. Regardless, the band does a good job in releasing a tight album that is sure to find a niche fanbase nonetheless.
Written by: Ankit Sood
- Wages of Sin
- Death Tremors
- Valley of Slaughter
- Demoncratic Society
- The Cull
- Suffer To Rise
- Into Your Hands
- Crush The Serpent’s Head
Release Date: July 12th. 2022
Record Label: Rottweiler Records
Video for ‘Silence’
Visualizer video for ‘Vindicator’