by Jacob Dempsey (@internet_punx)
With a beginning intro song that feels like a surprised adrenaline fueled start of a 1980s post apocalyptic film, Red Death's Formidable Darkness is the harsh, thrash filled crossover album that we’ve been waiting for all year long. Coming to you from the deeply historic, vibrant, and heavily influential music scene of Washington D.C., Red Death have been making a name for themselves along the way, breaking ahead amidst a genre of heavyweights. This record seems to be coming full circle from their first full length Permanent Exile, which happens to be a personal favorite as well. If you haven’t been familiar with Red Death, pay attention. They’re creating a firestorm within the D.C. scene and on a national level.
The album delivers itself within a twenty-three-minute timeline of unrelenting sledgehammer to the face riffage complete with the ever so lovely dive bombs that we all know and love from crossover music. Yet when listening to this record its clear that this is also something with an air of nostalgia bringing forth the sounds of the early thrash and crossover scenes. Subtle hits and nods are made in the records to old school crossover bands like Discharge and Cro-mags. Yet still with their own authentic originality, Red Death push ahead with songs like "Vagabond" and "Archangel Void," utterly brutal tracks that develop themselves with a serious note of dismay and political consciousness. Atop this, Red Death find themselves ripping and shredding their way above the rest with the ability to also create songs that feel airy and charming; subtly reflecting upon their influences but without gimmick.
With its face-paced tempo that also breaks into a slower more hardcore stylistic work, Formidable Darkness, is a good album for those looking to interact with a genre making a swift comeback. It’s an album that for any sort of heavy music fan would be an easy and fun listen. It feels like this band has created this as true egalitarian work of musicianship. Of all of the bands that considered themselves crossover, Red Death does its style down to their own self written book. They’ve creating a record that I think will be defining with the resurgence of this genre. Run in your circle pit, get ready to jump and clap mosh, head bang, and throw up the horns. This album touches on it all. Red Death are on the up and I cannot express enough how excited I am to see where they take themselves in 2018.