It was a couple of years ago when a lot of us were first hearing the debut EP from Job for a Cowboy. They weren’t just an everyday, standard metalcore band like many of the other countless EPs that circulated around at that time. No, they had something that set them apart — pig squealing vocals. It was oddly annoying and captivating at the same time. Hearing a “wee wee WEEEEEEEE” over the top of a brutal breakdown or two was pretty interesting, for what it was, but now it is a couple of years later and the approach isn’t all that unique any more. It looks like Annotations of an Autopsy thankfully recognized that… but instead of trying to expand upon the Job for a Cowboy mold, Annotations simply picked up a bunch of other techniques that are trendy right now and slapped them onto their songs.
Let's be honest from the get go here and acknowledge that the deathcore genre is really the new metalcore. Up and coming bands that don’t want to be “trendy” by playing metalcore are now adding triggered blast beats, some death metal and grind vocals, and doing a bunch of open chord chugging after playing a death metal chord progression. Sure, that keeps a band from getting pegged with the dreaded metalcore tag, but it’s attaching the almost as damning deathcore tag. Think about it for a second. When metalcore was new, it was a novelty to have hardcore breakdowns mixed in with heavy metal song structures, but now it’s pretty much a running joke that any heavy band that can’t write their way out of a bag simply tosses together a whole bunch of breakdowns and calls it an album. Hell, Emmure and Bury Your Dead have made a career out of doing just that. Unfortunately, no one has told bands such as Annotations of an Autopsy that deathcore is the becoming the next dumping ground for talent-less hacks.
It’s a sad state of affairs when songs this abrasive and menacing feel trite and boring. Giving a listen to the 5+ minute long “Years of Disgust”, for example, you’ll be wondering why the song had to be longer than 2 minutes. There is no build-up, no movement, no variation, no nothing. The song starts out with an ear piercing combination of screams and growls over a breakdown and then is followed by pig squeals, growls, a few chord progressions, and some more breakdowns. The transitions between these elements on this song and throughout the entire release, as well as the composition of these pieces, feels completely slapdash and, when it does feel somewhat natural, it’s simply because it is following an established deathcore genre convention.
There’s no doubt that this album is going to appeal to the deathcore scene junkies, but just as quickly they’ll move on to the next trendy release and never listen to this one again. Why? Because this is nothing more than a heartless, identity-less, generic, trend-centric, shallow attempt to get big in a burgeoning scene. If you want a mish-mash of what’s trendy in deathcore, Before the Throne of Infection will get you mad scene points and will also work as a crib notes guide to the growing scene. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and steer clear.