With its fifth full length, SXUPERION puts a new spin on classic death metal.
Words by Ryan McCarthy:
My first ever article for Heaviest of Art, written almost a year ago to the day, was a comparison review of SXUPERION’s 2016 full length Cosmic Void and KALEIKR’s phenomenal 2019 release Heart of Lead. May of 2019 was around the time when I discovered SXUPERION, and they’ve been in heavy rotation since that initial period of discovery. My admiration for this project has remained the same since I discovered them, and SXUPERION has seemingly been on an upward trajectory since last year, as evidenced by the release of Omniscient Pulse. With this new record, SXUPERION has honed their hybrid of black metal and death metal to a razor sharp edge. I don’t mean that as a flippant form of praise either; everything about this record is sharp, focused, and pointedly direct.
Where the tracks on Cosmic Void tended to be on the longer side (with the shortest track being just over five minutes in length), Omniscient Pulse takes a somewhat different approach. The longer tracks aren’t entirely absent (Owl and Myopian Frequency Release being the notable examples), but the majority of the tracks on this record hover around the three minute mark. The vibe on these songs is drastically different too. They have a sense of aggressive immediacy, whereas the five tracks on Cosmic Void tended to have a more atmospheric quality to them. Aside from the use of samples in almost every song, which add an unsettling and rather disorienting element to these compositions, the focus on these shorter tracks seems to be more on straightforward riffing and furious drumming.
And speaking of riffing, SXUPERION brought their A-game for this record. Tremolo riffs drone in and out pretty much constantly throughout the duration of Omniscient Pulse, creating a pervasive aura of dread. Switching effortlessly between fast-paced, blast-beat-infused frenetic passages and mid-tempo, orthodox death metal sections, SXUPERION clearly understands the importance of variety on a metal record. There is a very genuine sense of cosmic terror on these songs, and the overall ambience manages to evoke hidden vistas and forbidden knowledge that would make Lovecraft shiver.
Stylistically, SXUPERION tends to lean more towards the death metal side of the mix than some of its contemporaries in the genre. Perhaps this isn’t an obvious comparison to some, but I get Altars of Madness (MORBID ANGEL) vibes from this record. Omniscient Pulse is a potent mix of atmosphere with death metal riffing and attitude. The vocals are mostly low, guttural, and sustained, as opposed to the rapid-fire delivery of some other modern death metal acts. Sole member Matthew describes his musical contributions as follows: “all interstellar hyper-cannons, 4 and 6 string theory frequencies, cosmic poetry, deep-space esophagus oscillations, light-speed effects development, control-panel mixing, and final irreligious design.” It’s clear how seriously SXUPERION takes its aesthetic, and frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way. Taking your art seriously is important, and if records like Omniscient Pulse are the outcome of such earnestness, then this attitude speaks for itself.
Omniscient Pulse drops June 15th via Bloody Mountain Records. Preorder yours HERE.