Review – Stillbirth: Global Error

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  • Bio: "STILLBIRTH was founded in 1999 by Lukas Swiaczny (Guitar, Vocals) and sounds like a groovy mix of Brutal-Deathmetal/ Grindcore/ Hardcore-Funk and Beatdown-Rap." - Facebook
  • Label: Rising Nemesis Records
  • Release Date: January 12th, 2015
  • Genre: Brutal Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Bilstein, Germany’s Stillbirth formed in 1999, and has been haunting the underground ever since. Five years after coming together, the band independently released their debut full-length Happy Stillbirthday Party, which was followed by their second album Plakative Aggression through Rotten Roll Rex another five years later if not counting the two split releases they contributed to in 2008. Come 2009, Stillbirth not only found themselves releasing their third album Endgame is Near themselves, but a number of line-up changes now lay in their wake. Unfortunately, the latter hits kept coming, leaving guitarist and vocalist Lukas Swiaczny the only founding member left by the time they entered the studio to record Global Error, the group’s fourth full-length outing. But does it stand as a platter of underestimated Brutal Death and Grindcore, or is it not even worth your time?

Global Error definitely has some things going wrong for it almost immediately. While the music being performed is actually pretty good, carrying the mixture of Death Metal (brutal and traditional) and Grindcore quite well, the album as a whole is hindered by a clearly digital production, sterilizing some of the bite to the otherwise infectious performances. This isn’t to say your head won’t bob along at least, or that some songs or passages won’t be able to whip you up into a frenzy. When the music is at a faster pace and a lot tighter instead of being hinged on technicality, the songs themselves become richer and a hell of a lot better because of it. The reason is that the faults of the somewhat open audio, thinner distortions, and incredibly flat, albeit well-timed vocals that come off like someone who can’t hit the deeper range needed just plugged into a computer’s microphone jack and recorded from home, much like “Open Up This Fucking Pit” illustrates during the introduction with no music as a masking agent.

But, as stated, there are some good songs when the stars align properly. “Chainsaw Throatcut” is a pretty standard slab of deep tuned and bass fuelled Death Metal with Grindcore blasts that feels a bit restrained, but overall isn’t too bad. It can sound more like something destined to the modern Deathcore field, but that’s ly to the slower pace that does start to pick up speed at times by the half way point. “Don’t Give a Fuck” really shows off in the drums with brief machine gun blast beats at key times, not to mention some segments, such as around two minutes in, where the music seems to carry itself in a fun manner close to Polka that just simply works to head into the slam towards the very end.

“On the Edge of Society” is also well worth noting, but more in the sense that its one of the few tracks that makes the complex music work. There are plenty of blunt, deeper passages that just keep kicking you in the skull with steel toed boots littered between the bursts of technicality that seem to quickly crawl across the guitar necks that have a great deal of life to them as well. It also has your fair share of one-chord chugs that act as breakdown, but even these work out thanks to how spaced out they end up being towards the end, not to mention the closing that just limps across the finish line with a surprise doom metal-esque flair.

StillbirthThe one thing about Global Error is that Stillbirth have this aura of pretentiousness to them on this release that’s kind of hard to explain, really. The band definitely has the right to pull rank, having survived countless line-up changes since forming way back in 1999, and it’s expected that the commanding stage presence would eventually work its way into any long running group’s studio material. But there are just times where you can’t help but feel Stillbirth don’t quite have the recognition to include material such as “Open Up This Fucking Pit”. This one was clearly designed for the live shows, which not only is commendable, but also stands as one hell of track for the most part. The main issue here is that, while blanketed in this musical statement of mosh pit control, they introduce something incredibly out-of-place: Gangsta Rap, or at the very least what sounds like it. It sounds atrocious, the execution from the rapper himself is incredibly bland, and just ruins the flow of an otherwise killer track. The only Death Metal band to have incorporated rap into their material well is Six Feet Under with the song “One Bullet Left” that had Ice-T join in naturally. Here the rap sounds forced and slowed to accommodate the breakdown, while the other was written with rap in mind.

When you break it all down, Global Error isn’t a bad album, it’s just plagued by some poor decisions from a technical stand point. The audio itself suffers from the modern stigma of digital production and mixing causing sterilization to non-analog Brutal Death Metal recordings, except with the pig squeals that are top-notch and ear-splitting due to it. Of course this isn’t that much of a problem when the band focuses more on faster material or heavy grooves. The complex aspect of the band definitely is taken back a bit, which really hurts the vocals as well by not always being strong enough to mask the weaknesses that normally wouldn’t slip through. Even with the aforementioned pretentiousness that may or may not have been deliberate, Global Error manages to work within the limitations forced upon it to become an undeniably catchy album that stands as one of the better Stillbirth recordings at this point.

StillbirthPhysical review copy of this release provided by Rising Nemesis Records.