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Walking Corpse Syndrome - "Alive in Desolation" (CD)

Walking Corpse Syndrome - "Alive in Desolation" CD cover image

"Alive in Desolation" track listing:

1. Minion
2. The Individualist
3. Walking Sacrifice
4. Pushing the Grey
5. Choke
6. Forsaken
7. Captive
8. Inhumanity

Reviewed by on April 9, 2013

"More of a triumphant rebirth than simply another album, 'Alive in Desolation' is a break out moment for Walking Corpse Syndrome."

More of a triumphant rebirth than simply another album, “Alive in Desolation” is a break out moment for Walking Corpse Syndrome. With a new vocalist and songs broken down and reconstructed from the ground up, this is the moment where Walking Corpse Syndrome hits its stride and really shows the world what the band is made of. “Alive in Desolation” is easily one of the most polished works within recent memory of standout metal released from the deep underground of heavy music.

These eight tracks almost sound like a completely different band with the recruitment of a new growling menace, and it’s easy to hear from the last release that the song structures have been greatly refined. The sound is far less scattered and more focused this time around, and the underlying melodies are worked solidly into the music without losing the extreme atmosphere. Each song flows into the next incredibly smoothly, like with the “powering-down” style scream ending “Walking Sacrifice,” which moves straight into the melodic strumming of “Pushing the Grey.”

Just what specific genre to label the album is somewhat up in the air, considering the band has two drummers and a member who occasionally breaks out a violin. The band simply calls itself “dark metal,” but there’s a good deal more than that going on, as the outfit has its feet planted in two different worlds. There is strong appeal here both for fans who like their metal constantly extreme and those who prefer something a little more mainstream. Metalcore and goth can be heard from time to time, and there’s even tinges of nu-metal on tracks like “Forsaken” and “Pushing the Grey,” but it’s more of a backing influence than an actual stylistic focus.

The violin seems to be utilized a bit less here than before, primarily only showing up in “Forsaken” and closing track “Inhumanity,” but they are more prominent within those songs and are utilized perfectly for this style of music. The off-kilter and creepy sounds match Walking Corpse Syndrome’s overall persona, and doesn’t take the album down a symphonic metal path. Capping off the album and showcasing the band’s new found sense of unity, the final moments of the disc feature wobbly strings meshing perfectly with raspy screams of “False Idol! False Icon! False Ideal!” as the drummers go nuts.

If you’ve never heard of Walking Corpse Syndrome before, then now is the time to check in and become a fan. For those who have been with the group all along, “Alive in Desolation” is the culmination of all that has come before and a must-hear.

Highs: A true unity of sound is present, even with loads of different elements and vastly different musical styles.

Lows: Although an extreme metal release, there is a mainstream direction to the music that may not sit well with all.

Bottom line: Walking Corpse Syndrome hits its stride and finds its voice with this incredibly polished offering.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)