Dynamic Prominence: ALLUVIAL - Sarcoma Review

The premier death metal unit craft a gripping effort that breathes new life with each listen.

Words by Luis (@luis.hoa):

Though relatively young in their existence with four years and one full-length under their belt, Atlanta's ALLUVIAL are far from new to the game. Consisting of Kevin Muller (ex-Suffocation, ex-Pyrexia), Wes Hauch (Black Crown Initiate, ex-The Faceless), Tim Walker (Entheos), and Matt Paulazzo (Aegaeon), the band are comprised of tried and true talent from across the metal spectrum, each of which brings their prowess into one uniform beast. They now await the arrival of their new album, Sarcoma, which arrives on May 28th via Nuclear Blast Records.


Sarcoma departs from the instrumental The Deep Longing For Annihilation (2017) and allows for the newly introduced Muller to deliver a vocal performance of ample range, a feat not so commonly achieved in the genre. To round it all out, Paulazzo's intricate drumming and Hauch and Walker's masterful guitar work propel the release to the top of the ranks.


It all kicks off with the sinister opening of Ulysses, which introduces listeners to the explosiveness of the Sarcoma experience. Warm guitar echoes crescendo towards a barrage of Muller's blood-curling growls, the likes of which audiences have had a taste of given Ulysses' availability as the lead single. Ulysses offers the first of several electrifying solos on the record, each of which radiate with soul. Following track Thy Underling continues the high octane pace that tones down for a roaring chorus that sends chills down the spine. Hats off to the crisp, bombastic quality of the band's self-production and engineering work by John Douglass, which bring out the best in each member's contributions. Thy Underling is an apt example of that.


As mentioned prior, Sarcoma is riddled with variety and 40 Stories takes a step down from the intensity towards a more atmospheric approach. 40 Stories presents itself as a slow burner that commences with an eerie guitar number akin to that of Ulysses, followed by somber Muller vocals that later erupt into a grandiose chorus meant for the live setting. It's an avalanche that swarms listeners with alternating clean and growling vocals, shattering double bass, and a soaring solo once more. There's more to Hauch's solos than simply being a display of guitar playing ability. They're heartfelt and serve as representative of the emotion packed into the lyricism. As Hauch mentions, “Sarcoma is a type of cancer that grows from connective tissue in the body. At the end of working on everything...each song on the record was about the different perils that happen at the hand of one man to another. These perils live in our connections to one another..." Sure enough, Sarcoma is rooted in a shared experience that speaks volumes of the musical camaraderie present here.


It can be difficult to find a standout among a record with gems found throughout, but Exponent could very well be a heavy favorite. It's a barn burner of an effort that sports polyrhythmic riffs across a technical excellence by all involved. The monstrous Exponent is prefaced by Zero and followed by Sleepers Become Giants, two melodic tracks that offer breathing space among a maelstrom of pulsing fury. This sonic variety is testament to the attention to detail that ALLUVIAL have successfully invested into Sarcoma. As if you hadn't had enough to rattle the senses, album closer Anodyne comes rushing in and puts the final touches with razor-sharp fretwork by Hauch and Walker alike. Muller's growls fade into the distance and those eerie guitar echoes that we heard at the start of Ulysses come crawling back to close us out.


In a genre as flooded as death metal, Sarcoma stands tall as an effort that showcases the breadth available within the aggressive nature of it all. It's far more than a riff fest and with each passing track, ALLUVIAL's meticulously layered craft unfolds. What the band have put together here is truly something to take notice of and embrace, especially with this being their first composition as a full-fledged ensemble. We'd be remiss not to recommend you letting the warm, organic tones of the cover illustration guide you into a whirlwind of all-encompassing death.

Sarcoma arrives on May 28th via Nuclear Blast Records. Order your copy of it HERE.