Metal Review – Madrost: Into the Aquatic Sector

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Metal Review – Madrost: Into the Aquatic Sector
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Madrost: Into the Aquatic Sector
Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Self-release
September 23rd, 2014
Release length: 27:53
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Hailing from Lake Forest, California lies one of the area’s more impressive Death/Thrash Metal acts to surface in recent years: Madrost. The four-piece, featuring former Regalia member Tanner Poppitt on vocals and guitar as the only remaining founding member of a revolving door of band members. The most recent additions all came in 2013, including Harter Attack live musician Cesar Escobar on drums, Richard Orellana on bass, and rhythm guitarist Alejandro Pelaez. Member issues aside, Madrost (pronounced Ma-Drost) have issued three demos between 2008 and 2010, the Infected Chaos EP in 2011, and their debut full-length Maleficent in 2012. It’s been two years of working hard, touring and maturing, preparing to unleash their second full-length effort Into the Aquatic Sector themselves. But is it a recording worth plunging the depths for, or is it all more gimmick than memorable?

If you haven’t caught on by its title, Into the Aquatic Sector carries more of a nautic theme to the lyrics. Madrost reinforces this with the creepy introductory track “The Unknown,” littered with Science Fiction-grade electronics and underwater noises that sets the environment up for something approaching from the depths. “Frozen Beneath the Snow” kicks in with a mix between Sodom and Vektor with a Dethklok “It’s metal! …for fish!” mentality that touts a nice blunt edge to the thick guitars and strong bass presence. The sound overall is a bit thinner than it should be, which finds the drums suffering a bit by not having the necessary bite. At times there also seems to be some washout on them, but it does crop up elsewhere, such as during the primal shout on “Subterranean Nightmare” that leads one to believe this might be an added effect similar to a cassette that was eaten by the player and repaired.

These two genre’s fight for supremacy, offering catchy hooks with varied grooves in certain bridges. This becomes the formula for the most part, though “Universal Energy” has a much stronger Thrash Metal presence overall. While there’s an extra falsetto thrown into the mix, this more hostile offering is greatly lacking gang chants, something missing throughout the release that would have greatly helped strengthen the already solid chorus. “Into the Aquatic Sector” finds a great deal of technicality in the guitars, as well as as hefty amount of blistering bass kicks, all of which works out far better for the harsher screaming vocal style of the album. Sadly the guitar solo doesn’t really fit, finding lead and rhythm swapping speeds and forcing the aquatic environment the lyrics clearly have to where it sounds awful until the simple held notes fade out.

Fortunately there are times where that nautic sense is incorporated well by letting the atmosphere do the work. “Operation Xenomorph Protocol” starts off slow, feeding off the cold darkness. Even when the pace picks up about a minute in, you can still feel that chill from the oppressive chords. “The Oceanic Prelude,” however, is a bit more jovial. While the aquatic touch still exists, it feels better placed in a Folk Metal album, or performed at a Renaissance Fair instead.

Into the Aquatic Sector is a solid follow-up full-length from Madrost that is really only held back by the somewhat thinner audio quality. Had this been a little richer, the impact would have been a lot more powerful. But what is captured here clearly shows a band that has put their dues in to evolve into what surely in an energetic experience if seen live instead of simply hearing the material from a band funded studio recording. If you want a serious journey through undersea brutality that could use a little more gang chanting and falsetto vocals, Into the Aquatic Sector is well worth checking out.

01. The Unknown – 1:13
02. Frozen Beneath the Snow – 5:11
03. Universal Energy – 3:19
04. Operation Xenomorphic Protocol – 4:12
05. The Oceanic Prelude – 0:43
06. Subterranean Nightmare – 3:53
07. Into the Aquatic Sector – 4:06
08. Depravity – 5:15
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Madrost
Madrost

Digital review copy of this release provided by Madrosoft via Clawhammer PR.