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Terminate - Ascending to Red Heavens (Selfmadegod Records)

By: Matt Coe

[7/10] Illinois has certainly been a metal haven through the years. Developing a solid underground scene, bands such as Master, Trouble, and to a lesser extent Znowhite/Cyclone Temple and Cianide have found favor through the press and airwaves, turning thousands of people across the world onto their musical wares. Forming in 2009 and armed with one demo release in 2011, Terminate gained a record deal to release their debut 9-song album Ascending to Red Heavens with the intent on keeping Chicago death metal alive and thriving in 2013.

Gritty production values, low tuning, and a straightforward buzz saw approach to material like “Numb” and “Chainsaw Omega” will remind most of early 90’s Swedish death metal veterans like Dismember and Grave, along with a punk-like persistence that has made Bolt Thrower a perennial favorite. Guitarist John Porada also handles the growls, and his delivery has that horror scream meets reverb delay gruffness where you’ll probably need a lyric sheet to make out 80% of the words.

Not everything is pristine in terms of the quartet’s execution. The out of tune notes for the closing lead break of the 5:23 title cut could make ears twinge and drummer Jim Smith has a love for Dave Lombardo in the way he handles the ride cymbal for closer “Iron Supremacy,”but isn’t smooth coming out of the blast beat combinations. Thankfully we do not suffer through nightmare intros or outros setting the stage for the regular material at hand. Best songs for me were the militant mid-tempo rhythmic gallop for “Answered in Lead” and the straightforward death swarm that is “The Savage Silence” where I envision circle pits and hair windmills.

Topped off with the requisite dark cover art and pointy band logo, Terminate set their sights on classic death metal and as such do not tarnish the movement with Ascending to Red Heavens.

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