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How do I communicate to you that this, a demo from the UK metalcore outfit Cruelty, is worth listening to in the year of our lord 2018? The Internet’s signal-to-noise ratio deafens. Hyperbole -- usually the deployment of the word “necessary,” or some yoking of what’s “new” to some saintly trajectory, some flow of music history, e.g. “Cruelty are Converge’s beautiful, beautiful sons" -- reigns high. Plus, the sun allegedly set on the genre anyway.

But this is the Internet, and the Internet is where everything goes to haunt us when it’s too stubborn to die. So the sun, as Beckett put it, has no alternative but to shine down on nothing new.

Which isn’t to say this demo is boring, or even predictable. Ian Cory, the head honcho editor here, patiently explained to me that “invisible oranges” are what hands look like when you’re experiencing a sick riff. Comrades: the riffs here are sick, even downright evil. Cruelty is incredibly tight for an up-and-comer. At a production level and a technical execution level, these guys are smoking the competition -- on a demo, no less.

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The second cut, “Our Sunrise,” is a great starting place. It’s a sinister track replete with nightmare chugging and well-placed blast-beats. Their drummer’s an animal. And the breakdown? It’s riot fuel. More than anything, I’m impressed by how thoughtful the song’s arrangement is.

The lyrics, for the most part, need work though. Any time someone references “angels” anywhere at all, I get suspicious -- it's hard to pull that off anymore. They often get caught up in trying to be poetic rather than communicating clearly. It’s a hard balance. And, look, it’s metalcore. No one’s asking anyone to be the next Coleridge here.

Still, there is one line that grabbed me from the last track:“Lost in a present that never stops passing.” It scans well, the trochaic meter pitches you down, mimics the freefall through time. The track is, appropriately, called “Existence" -- we’re all on our way out, and we live in dislocated times. Everywhere you look, death drive abounds. It’s a big, ugly year. And Cruelty, living up to their name, have a big, ugly demo to match it.

—Emmet Penney

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