About the album A Hill To Die Upon, its componist and guitarist Marvin Kessler said, This is the album I tried to write for such a long time in order to illustrate the depressions and pressure I explored as a musician. Did that motivate me to listen to the 28th May 2021 release? Of course! Otherwise you would not just read this review of the new album by the German band Mental Cruelty.
Mental Cruelty – About The Artists
Mental cruelty is a metal band from Karlsruhe in Germany. They are active since 2016. The lineup is Lucca Schmerler (vocals), Marvin Kessler (guitar), Nahuel Lozano (rhythmic guitar), Viktor Dick (bass) and Danny Straßer (drums). They already released a first EP in 2016 with Pereat Mundus. In 2018 and 2019, the band released an album each year, Purgatorium and Inferis. On Spotify, their most successful songs so far is Mundus Vult Decipi with some 300k streams at the time of writing.
Mental Cruelty – A Hill To Die Upon – Track by Track
The album includes ten tracks and lasts 43 minutes.
The album starts instrumental: the first 57 seconds of A Hill To Die Upon are an atmospheric intro.
2. Ultima Hypocratica
After the slow start, Ultima Hypocratica does not leave any doubts: Mental Cruelty wants to rock you the darkest way: hammering guitar riffs, organ-alike keyboard sounds and dark growling dominate the first full track of the album. Frequently, there are choir-alike elements. If you feel that Death Metal is boring, this might be your soundtrack. Depending on your musical taste, you will either name this song terrible noise – or fine Deathcore sounds.
Whenever I listen to hard Heavy Metal genres, I am fascinated how drummers do this hammering frequencies. If you feel the same, you will definitely praise Danny Straßer for this incredible six minute performance. I have to admit that one the one hand, it is close to the “heavy-ness” I can stand in metal – on the other hand, Mental Cruelty just do their songs so good and versatile that I enjoy listening. My wife is shaking her head and running away while I am writing a review with a smile in my face.
4. King ov Fire
The guitar work on King ov Fire is sheer amazing. I like the way the riffs are breaking into another, very hammering sound at one part – and then later doing fantastic melodic parts. I have to admit that it is hard for me to reconcile the beauty of the lyrics (also due to a lack of a lyrics sheet in the press kit), but I enjoy the arrangement and the sudden breaks in the song. Mental Cruelty just find the right elements to keep their album entertaining.
5. Eternal Eclipse
Eternal Eclipse have a strong touch of Dimmu Borghir to me. The combination of growling and screaming elements just feels like the Norwegians are around. Cool melodic background work on top of the hammering drums, which feel like machine gun fire from the magician on the drum set.
6. Death Worship
In Death Worship, the Germans work with heavy breakdown structures. Even though I feel that they do a good job in the song overall, I just feel that they did better in others. Not a bad one, but just not my favorite.
The burbling of water, an elfin sound of music – in the seventh track Fossenbrate (the second instrumental one), it feels like the band gives us some time to relax… Feel the energy right before the title track, metalheads!
8. A Hill To Die Upon
A Hill To Die Upon clearly deserves to give the album its name. The song is so strong and powerful. There is also that much speed in the song. The band shows his genius song structures and plays. Cool!
9. Extermination Campaign
I love the combination of rather slow, marching beats and the amazing quick work on the drum pedals in Extermination Campaign. Again, the melodic work is great and works well with the sound of the vocals. Cool track.
10. The Left Hand Path
You just should not do things too short – especially if they are over thereafter – The Left Hand Path closes the album as a 7:40 minute epic. The song is full of dramatic elements, full of passion and clashes different emotions. A worthy finale.
Mental Cruelty – A Hill To Die Upon – Spotify
Here is the album widget on Spotify:
Mental Cruelty – A Hill To Die Upon – My View
Deathcore is definitely not my favorite metal genre. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed listening to the album. Mental Cruelty definitely did great work in the studio. The songs form different elements into one good thing. The band is driven by their talent and their really good way to put songs together. As there are still some parts which I felt to be too much facing towards just being loud and bombastic they just miss the excellent ratings – but they are not that far away from them.
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