Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cytotoxin - Radiophobia

Find the Spaceballs reference!

Okay, this confuses the crap out of me.  I don't usually talk about being a review mod because y'all would not be entertained by stories of me staring at my laptop for hours at a time, wondering if anybody has even so much as looked at previous reviews to know that just maybe their four line review might not be acceptable.  But there is one odd phenomenon I've noticed, and that's that a lot of people like Cytotoxin's sophomore effort, Radiophobia.  There's only one published here right now, but you'll have to take my word that I've had to reject at least six others for various reasons, all extraordinarily positive.  This blows my mind because who the fuck are Cytotoxin?  Did some famous dude I don't know pimp them out?  Was some guy from Job for a Cowboy wearing their shirt in a music video?  Somebody enlighten me here, these guys seemed to pop up out of nowhere with an already rabid fanbase in tow, and I can't think of a single reason why.  Why not?  Because they're fucking boring, that's why.

See, the thing about Cytotoxin is same thing about Cerebral Bore, it's really safe, cookie cutter BDM with an abundance of pig squeals.  The big difference between those two is that Cytotoxin is faster and more technical, making them more akin to the Italian scene I love so much.  But even then, everything on Radiophobia is something Hour of Penance did three times already and better, and without thirty minutes of pig squealing.  I know I probably seem like the -core hating cockdouche here, but really I never got behind this vocal flourish.  It's hard to inject personality into an inhaled squeal like that, no matter who you are or what language you're belching, it'll always sound like you're yelling REE REEE REEEEE and it just gets fucking old fast.  A band like, I dunno, Benighted or something that utilizes the technique every once in a while is one thing, but when you use it with the same mindset that Steve Asheim uses the blast beat, you're going to be repeating yourself an awful lot.  When you're playing a style as overpopulated as this, it'd be cool to help yourself stand out a bit, but this just is not the right way to do it for me.

And that's the thing, I really don't hear anything that makes Cytotoxin stand out above the rest of the bands of their ilk.  Really, this could be any band on Unique Leader or Willotip's roster (aside: I didn't realize until after writing this sentence that they actually are signed to Unique Leader, so basically I'm a fucking genius), it's that exact brand of faceless tech death that so few bands really manage to break out of.  If you'd put an album by Beheaded or Odious Mortem or Arkaik in the case here, I wouldn't have noticed.  It's brutal, it's technical, it has sweeps and breakdowns, it's nothing approaching special, and it's for that reason that I really don't understand their relative popularity.

But with all that said, even though there's nothing even remotely original here, it's still a style worth revisiting.  I can namedrop all these other bands this reminds me of because I like them all.  Generic brutal tech death is a fun genre to get lost in.  Smashing slams and breakdowns, blistering leads, and plaid drumming, everything you'd expect is here in spades and it's all pretty well done.  Radiophobia is structured the same way that The Browning's first album is, with back to back runs of four songs + interlude, and the better songs being in the back half.  "Fallout Progeny" is my favorite, with the breakdown at the end being both high tempo and punishing (my favorite kind of breakdown) and the fast tremolo riffs being ear catching and surprisingly melodic.  "Abysm Nucleus" is great as well for the same reasons, but those are the only two that really stand out overall.  I guess "Frontier of Perception" also has a really gnarly chugging part as well but those last two proper songs are the only two with anything that sticks when the album is done and over with.  But even with that being the case it's still not a bad listen if you can stomach the complete oversaturation of the pig squeals.

Basically if you like Cerebral Bore, but could handle them going more in the technical direction than the brutal one, then Radiophobia is for you.  I know I've compared them to the most accessible BDM band around a few times, but I'm still confused as to their sudden burst of popularity.  The pig squealing phenomenon seems to have passed in popular music, but that doesn't stop Cytotoxin from filing nearly 70% of all vocal lines with the technique, and that's really the biggest annoyance with the album apart from the lack of originality.  But really, those are two easy things to get over.  I wouldn't really recommend this since there are better bands doing this same thing but better right now (the mere existence of Hour of Penance makes this band redundant), but if you're a fan of the style I don't see how this could hurt.

Also, the band photo looks like it consists of four clones, and that just makes me laugh.

RATING - 63%


  1. Lol!

    A cannot take a reviewer seriously who insults the musicians. Maybe your taste is just too common for Cytotoxin. I really love their new album and it is definitely not the samish BDM like you said. Also there are not as many pig squeals as you said, definitely not 70%. You seem to be the typical Old School Death Metal type not liking anything that sounds new. Maybe your are a clone of a clone of a clone........

    1. Wha? I insulted the musicians? Nah, the clone joke is just a joke, and come on, look at their photo on MA and tell me they don't all resemble one another.

      This did end with a positive score, I just think there are other bands out there doing this same thing but better already, so you're not missing much if you skip the album. And yeah, old school death metal is great but I listen to more modern, overproduced tech death than OSDM.

  2. i have no idea why you think that Cytotoxin is sameish dude, i mean yeah obviously every metalhead has heard a technical death metal band at least once but in saying that i think personally that cytotoxin are WAY more technical than alot of the bands releasing stuff lately.
    but also what you said on M.A about Hour of Penance doing it three times and even better than Cytotoxin, i own all of HoP's CD's and i've never heard anything remotely close to the absolutely MINDBLOWING brutality that is Radiophobia.

    oh and by the way none of Grimo's vocals are "inhale" pig squeals...only noob vocalists that don't know how to squeal do that shit.

    1. I haven't heard any HoP prior to The Vile Conception, but they're pretty much the stick by which I measure all tech death nowadays. Radiophobia is brutal, yes, but I don't think it has enough interesting components to really grab me.

      Regardless of whether or not they're inhales (I'm not a vocalist), you obviously know the sound I'm talking about, which is the important part really.

  3. I can tell you I am a fan of both and I had the chance of meeting Simone before he left Hour Of Penance. As well, I do enjoy Cytotoxin. I have waited anxiously for the new release and I am enjoying it to the fullest.

    And as far as the clones go hehe I can tell you it is German engineering at its finest. If I may, if you know Ollie, the drummer, at the far right in the MA picture, this dude is a fucking tank! For what its worth!

  4. I'll take the vocals and music on this over Hour of Penance any day. HOP sounds about as generic as they come when it comes to tech-death, especially the vocals. To say they did the style 3x better is a joke.