Ruptured Birth – Transmutant (2016)

I’m going to note first and foremost that this promo version of the album does not contain the EP bonus tracks, so if you want those, you can buy the disc and hear them yourself. As the name implies, Ruptured Birth are a slamming BDM act from Canada. Yet unlike other acts in this genre, they manage to bring a little more than slam. This is the kind of slam that has a good share of brains and brawn, rather than one element truly overpowering the other. For instance, deep within the mass of punishing grooves and vocal utterances thicker than Gorilla Glue we have a great deal of musical composition – as in, actual riffs are not only being written, but are actually allowed enough space within the performance to be audible. The disc still thumps, but it does a bit more than that which I find a bit more interesting than records from many of these acts. Sometimes they’ll even use a set of synths to build atmosphere, which is necessary for such an act. There are also spots within the performance where time is taken to create atmosphere with the guitar itself, which I found equally intriguing.

Obviously it’s not the brainiest disc you’ve ever heard before, but a black/death number by the name of “Blood Siren” thrown smack dab in the middle of the mix really makes a difference. Simply, there are moments where Ruptured Birth do not slam and actually show that they can in fact, play their instruments – and quite well. I much prefer this over the latest Rings Of Saturn, I’ll say that much. I feel that the well of weird alien riffs has gone dry over there, and perhaps the kind of experimenting that these guys are doing within such a claustropobic scene as slam/death can be, might help those guys a little.

The title track itself is quite spectacular, moving completely forward from standard slam-fare and into that of something completely different altogether. I also love the fact that there are a few legitimate solo efforts here, which do nothing more than to further pepper an already terrific performance. Though what truly caught my ear, was the fact that a band of this nature decided to pull off a fifteen minute cut right at the end of the disc. And I know that you say to yourself, “But this is slam! It is supposed to be short and brutal!” Well, we’re hearing the exception to the rule in this slow, but rather creepy closer called “Unnatural Selection” that very well might be one of the most awesomely twisted pieces I’ve heard from this kind of music in a while. The riffs here are similar to Rings Of Saturn, but with a more monstrous form of growl and certainly no deathcore influence. It literally sounds like death metal from another dimension and might not even make logical sense at first – which is what I find so remarkable about it. Axeman Shane Scovron should be praised for this piece and I hope that he has more riffs similar to it prepped for the next disc. These guys could really be the kind of alien death metal band that we need. As the synths creep up, the sort of ominous feeling captured well within science fiction films and video games soon becomes apparent, making me kind of wonder why the guys chose something as bland as Ruptured Birth as their moniker.

When the track continues, the vocals even begin to sound as if they’re underwater. That’s the very definition of thinking out of the box, and it gives me a sense of excitement to listen further. You start to wonder what they’re going to do next, even if it doesn’t even so much as remotely resemble slam anymore. This is something monolithic, it’s something so much more than most of the artists in this genre offer and I’d absolutely love to hear more. In fact, they could have just put this track on a single disc (it’s long enough for an EP in any case) and I’d have given it a 10/10 by itself. I have to wonder, would they even perform this live? How would they get the vocals to sound like they’re underwater in that situation? Put frontman James Bok in a sensory deprivation tank and find a way to mic it from the inside? I’d pay good money to see that. The rest of this track actually envelops into a massive solo, which I only have to appreciate more given all that came before it. These guys aren’t famous yet? What’s the problem?

Yeah, that’s more or less what Ruptured Birth offer. Despite the commonplace name, the music definitely differs from what most of us are hearing in the slam scene right now. Don’t even follow the Metal Archives scores for this, because they’re mixed as you might expect. “Putrevomitory” seems to agree with me here, noting “Unnatural Selection” as well. I think if that had been the only song released on this album, he would have also given it a good score – and again, it’s long enough for that. In all seriousness, if these guys wanted to play so much with sci-fi imagery, they should have just dropped the whole BDM/slam premise of playing within the lines (as they sometimes do, unfortunately) and just wrote an entire album full of weird riffs, experimental ideas and intriguing death metal interjections – something unlike anything else in the genre right now. Especially if it followed the “Unnatural Selection” path. These guys proved what they’re capable of and it’s too late for them to back out now. The Grim Tower definitely recommends Ruptured Birth’s Unnatural…I mean, Transmutant and I’d highly recommend that you listen to the disc, regardless of whether or not you dig slam.

(9 Tracks, 51:00)

8/10

(Unnatural Selection As A Standalone Piece)

10/10 

https://rupturedbirth.bandcamp.com/album/transmutant-with-arachni-supremacy-ep-bonus-tracks

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