Review by Chris Pratl on September 23, 2020.
It is a very rare occurrence when a band from seemingly out of nowhere manages to not only grab my attention, but dominate it for the better part of a few months. Belgium's Schizophrenia does just that with their debut EP, Voices.
Voices is a hook-filled, voracious death / thrash foray that is a fresh slap in the face to the respective genres and their fans who, while not necessarily looking for more, appreciate the finer points of both areas when designed so damn perfectly. These four guys from relative obscurity have crafted what I personally feel is best EP offering of the year, hands down. With a sharp and concise talon on the pulse of what makes for good death metal, Schizophrenia meshes the worlds of thrash and death to come up with 20-minutes of fury and hellish violence only a select few will understand and appreciate. I cannot espouse the virtues of this release enough; it's a perfect meshing of two worlds too often forced together with criminally bad results, despite the best intentions. With guitars that tap into every recess of the brain, bass and drums filling the back end with endless dissension, and vocals barking a sermon from the deepest portions of hell itself, Voices discovers the fountain of youth that de Leon himself couldn't have offered for these two genres too laden with underwhelming efforts these days.
As for the tracks, one flows into another with such symmetry and design that one wonders how it could have possibly worked out so well so easily. The vocals are the raspy growl / shriek we've all come to know and revel in, but something about these offerings over such a volatile cacophony creates intense visuals on both horrific and engaging palates. The production being crisp and very unpolished in its polish just makes the entire sonic experience fun with every instrument holding its own with veritable ease and precision. This right here is the metal genre marriage we need and want, people - from the mind-jarring cover to the impeccable tunes themselves, this is a flawless winner.
Standouts? The entire damn thing! But, if forced at gunpoint, I keep going back to 'Schizophrenia', a track with such a tremendous, albeit simple bridge hook that the tone sticks in my head for hours. Truthfully, though , if you seek out on EP this year, this band is making some serious noise. I managed to snag a copy from the band themselves, but Redefining Darkness has put out limited, numbered editions of the CD and LP (purple swirl and blood red) in numbers of 250 vinyl and 200 CD's. DO NOT sleep on this one, or cry later.
I usually don't fall too in love with a band or a particular release these days, despite there being a plethora of amazing albums being issued in seemingly record time this summer, but this is destined to be one of those sleepers that people in the local shows are going to be raving about for months to come, mark my words.
Rating: 10 out of 10274