Hurts So Good
Succumb’s eponymous debut LP is a beautifully disgusting cocktail of everything wrong and in conflict with itself. From lumbering, old-school death metal to ear-splitting grindcore to grimly blackened blast beats, the corrosive outpouring of black sludge is at once razor-sharp and muddily indistinct, akin to sounds of other line-blurring metallic and hardcore groups like Converge, early Trap Them and Mgla.
The San Francisco foursome manage to shove a staggering amount of variety into a relatively short experience. At one moment, the howls of frontwoman Cheri Musrasrik sound like they’re being carried on the wind from a barren field miles away, and then, moments later, screamed directly into our faces from point blank range, nearly drowning out the rest of the band in a claustrophobic miasma. “Bed Chambers” will hook you in with its grooving powerviolent d-beat, only to stop short and let loose a volley of pig squeals and pinch harmonics lifted straight from Deicide’s little black book. Just when it seems like the breakneck pace will never cease, colossal closer “The Flood” seeps in, shaking off the thick layers of crust to envelop everything in its wake.
The record is a sonic war zone – Succumb are determined to never let listeners relax or let down their guard. Cuts like “Surivial” are ever-churning, halting, thrashing and lurching forward in an unending rockslide of unpredictable rhythms and asymmetrical fills, like some political dissident being tortured in the darkest chamber of an unreachable tower. Succumb are vile, crusty and wretched and yet somehow equally glorious and empowering, splattering their canvas in blank ink without ever stretching themselves too thin or sounding too stylistically segmented from song to song; it’s all one consistent, even blend. Those with even an iota of foresight would head straight to their Bandcamp page to show this fledgling foursome some love immediately – that way they can moan and complain about how they knew Succumb before the band got famous, cleaned up their sound and signed to Interscope in 2020.