Genocide Pact released my favourite death metal album of 2018, Order of Torment, on Relapse. The songs are drenched in heavy grooves turning catchy, rapid corners.

Rather than dazzle with furious technical playing, the band focuses on crushing tempos and an economical presentation. If you enjoyed the latest riff-heavy Tomb Mold album (and it is excellent), Order of Torment just feels that much tidier in its execution and its production. Minimal d-beats or punk inflections seep into these four- and five-minute songs, it’s groove and blast all the way down.

Tight production really helps the occasional lead work sing overtop of the elephantine proceedings beneath it. The result is both soothing and exciting, making for an album I enjoy hearing in its entirely. It’s also got a perfect “Side A, Side B” balance if you like breaking things up.

There’s a old Bolt Thrower-meets-Carcass vibe in my ears at times. I’m really particular about the vocals in this style of music, and countless times they muck-up good compositions for me. But the growls on this album check all the right boxes for my taste. No pig-squealing, no shrieking, and no clean singing in sight. Low and slow. The vocals mostly stay out of the way, letting the rhythm drive the tunes and the listener.

For a band from Washington, D.C., the lyrics are unsurprisingly tilted towards the grim and political, rather than piling on the gore common to this genre. The usual nihilism and depictions of suffering and violence also partake in the long tradition of anti-authority and aversion to control structures.

Highlights for me were the closing solo to “Pain Reprisal”, the bell-hit pattern in “Structural Dissolution”, the big snare (yay drummer!), the crazy amount of low-end, and the terrific mix of dynamic created with weight in the riffs as well as speed. A really cohesive, organic death metal album? Genocide Pact has pulled it off.

More: Bandcamp, Relapse Records