Downfall Of Mankind - Vile Birth

Like a screaming baby born of hell, Downfall Of Mankind’s debut full length album “Vile Birth” is aptly titled. For those looking for a symphonic deathcore album that doesn’t feature too many progressive elements, brutal riffs, and filthy vocals complete with brees, gurgles, roars, and shrieks, then this is the album to hear. This Lisbon based 4 piece started in 2019, and being such a fresh band on the scene gets a bit of help from a few guests on the album. Some are a bit unknown like the vocalist from Counteractt but then there are bigger names like Kyle Anderson of Brand Of Sacrifice who has also lent his voice to groups like Hurakan. Situated on label Lacerated Enemy Records, Downfall Of Mankind has some pretty good backing behind them to start off right. As far as the music goes, a lot of this can be compared to a mix of Shadow Of Intent or earlier Within Destruction. The music is still brutal but with some soft spots here and there to make it more than just buzzing guitars and harsh vocals.

‘Beneath The Aftermath’ starts out right with a rather typical Shadow of Intent style; keyboard intro before leading into the heavier riffs and grunted vocals.  The harsh brees in the middle will appeal to fans of the likes of Worm Shepherd and the slower chugs are certainly slam/ deathcore soaked in just very basic structure, but it works. Downfall Of Mankind are not really the polished production type where everything is crystal clear. Vocals tend to be right in the front with the symphonic choirs and keyboards backing (even though it does tend to sound a bit Cradle Of Filth-y), but when the guitars are in full on breakdown mode the drums tend to get a little buried. Then you’ve got tracks like 'Faceless' which are less symphonic and more about just brutal riffs and the vocals. Tracks like these happen quite often on the album and unfortunately just don’t quite grab listeners as much, as between this and ‘Murderous Manifesto’ they tend to sound more like a carbon copy of something off “Deathwish” from Within Destruction. Heavy yes but not the most original. Then there are tracks like ‘Vile Birth’ that have the plinking keyboards layered on the vocals which tends to bury the softer parts, but the raging chaos of the guitars and drums helps carry the fury and make the music sound more lively.

‘Altered State Of Consciousness’ is pretty brief but probably the heaviest track on the album even with the symphonics in the background for balance. While not as ‘breeing’ as the others, this is more straightforward deathcore meets brutal death metal. It chugs and churns right up any fan of Cattle Decapitated’s alley. ‘For I Am Terror’ follows suit, and though Kyle is on it his voice only shines through for a small bit, letting vocalist Lucas usually take the charge. Here on the album it seems like a lot of the guests, be it Kyle or Caleb, tend to let Downfall of Mankind take the reins, which is a bit unorthodox as usually when guests show up on songs they get ¼ to half the time. With a lot of these death metal/ deathcore artists it can be hard to tell the difference between them since a lot of them sound the same. Here it sounds like Julien of Benighted tends to stand out with the greatest contrast as his high pitched shrieks match Lucas’s lower growls whereas the other ones just blend together. ‘Maker’s Funeral’ features no guest vocals but the song structure tends to sound a bit like ‘Vile Birth,’ so it is one of the more forgettable tracks of the album.

‘Noirceur’ finally shakes things up from the heaviness with melodic simpleness. After wave and wave of brees and growls with the churning guitars, the simple buzzing riff with some groove along with the keyboard bits is very welcomed. A little more Worm Shepherd slowed down compared to the Within Destruction full force charge, here Downfall Of Mankind feels like they hit their stride more and stand out in their sound. The track is still very heavy and a bit vanilla for a deathcore/ death metal track, but also sounds darker and more appropriate for the album overall concerning the dark themes. ‘Divine Slaughter’ fits in very nicely with the vocal tones and the pig squealing gurgles that match Luis Diaz’s snarls and growls. Bringing back the deathcore elements in full force, the symphonic parts are very overshadowed, but less saturated. While it doesn’t close the album on a grandiose note like a lot of symphonic deathcore groups do, Downfall Of Mankind keep their tracks tight, focused, and restrained, focusing on the right amount of brutality to match the beauty. While a lot of bands tend to be jumping on the melodic deathcore train when it comes to symphonics, adding in proggy bass moments and clean vocals to boot, Downfall Of Mankind keep things filthy and crushing. Not quite 90s filthy like Incantation or Immolation but also not as flowing and organic as Fit For An Autopsy’s new album or even the new Shadow Of Intent. “Vile Birth” doesn’t quite make a ground shaking entrance as some other bands have done this year, but it still comes out strong and will appeal to anyone who likes brutal deathcore laced with symphonics.

4 / 5 STARS

1. Beneath The Aftermath
2. Faceless (feat. Caleb Branhan of Lowlife)
3. Murderous Manifesto
4. Vile Birth (feat. Julien Truchan of Benighted)
5. Altered State Of Consciousness
6. For I Am Terror (feat. Kyle Anderson of Brand Of Sacrifice)
7. Maker’s Funeral
8. Noirceur
9. Divine Slaughter (feat. Luis Diaz of Counteractt)