There’s always been something amusing about death metal music. Whether it’s the OTT ‘evil’ lyrics, the garish on-stage theatrics or the insistence to be as heavy and brutal as possible all the time, sometimes it’s hard to take certain bands seriously. Luckily, fans and bands alike understand the premise that just because you sound like someone plugged a traction engine into the apocalypse doesn’t mean you’re a harem of devil-worshipping cannibals. In fact, if your song titles are generally pun-based it’s fair to say you’re aware of the somewhat ludicrous nature of metal.
“Mock The Weak” is the debut album from Welsh guitar smashers Fourth Autumn. Citing their influences as The Black Dahlia Murder, Behemoth and Rick Astley – you know you’re in for an album of unspeakable horror. Mixing a blend of guttural growls and high-pitched squeals, the juxtaposition in styles pushes the intensity levels to unfathomable heights.
Opener ‘Rotting Hill’ is a bona fide headbanging metal frenzy. The Dani Filth-esque squeals of drummer Daniel Cousins are boosted by the hardcore screams of frontman Julian Cousins as the blast beats and fret flailing continue the sensory assault. Following on with the metal-based song punnery, ‘Mourning Wood’ is a double-bass pedal filled screamathon about masturbation – what’s not to love?
Keeping the jokes alive and the brutality prevailing, ‘Don’t Stop Bereavin’‘ is a relentless, ball-busting anthem. Starting with a beautifully metallic rendition of Journey‘s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’‘ the song transcends into something so evil it would make those disgustingly polished kids in “Glee” shit their pants.
Unfortunately, when the ten-track LP reaches its half-way point the previous momentum slows and stalls. Although the inherent anger and hatred is still deep at the heart of Fourth Autumn‘s music, the hooks have seemingly disappeared and you’re left with a weird morph of Cradle of Filth and Whitechapel. Yes it’s heavy, yes it’s ferocious, but despite such song titles as ‘Coffin Fit’ it feels as though the Newport metallers set the bar too high during the first 12 minutes.
“Mock The Weak” comes screeching back to life, though, with the industrial-edged ‘Rigor Mortis (Makes Me Stiff)’. It’s a full-throttle foray into audio abuse and faster than protons in the LHC. Daniel Cousins attempts to pound holes in his snare drum whilst Julian Cousins delivers such lyrical gems as “the smile on my face at the end of the deed/her insides are lined with the warmth of my seed”. It’s got all the makings of a great metal party tune.
Ending on the pulverising ‘Sultans Of Sin’, Fourth Autumn pull out all the stops with a barrage of furious screams and blast beats. Ultimately a showcase for the past 35 minutes, the passion and anger powers through the music into a never ending symphony of destruction. Culminating in a bombastic metal bludgeon to the face, the former doubts are forgotten as the Cymru crushers deliver an outstanding display in their first outing.