With the UK hardcore scene being such a veritable hotbed of talent, Cruelty will be hoping their take on the genre lets them stand out from the already densely populated crowd. Where the band seem to differ is that their pool of influences comes from somewhat of a darker place. Instead of leaning on primarily chugging beatdown grooves, Cruelty opt for riffs tinged with 90’s death metal, rattling along at the breakneck pace of 80’s hardcore punk.
Opener ‘An Introduction’ sets the tone with walls of harsh feedback giving way to blood curdling screams and sledgehammer-like guitars. From here the band revel in their sheer brutality with many standout moments showing they’re more than just another metallic hardcore band. ‘A Lie That Makes Life Bearable’ bounces around multiple genres across its tight three minutes. Going from pummelling hardcore to atmospheric black metal, all tied together with spidery fretwork reminiscent of bands like Botch. ‘Dead Culture’ is another highlight, featuring brain melting time signature changes, driving hardcore rhythms and even a shredding guitar solo. All somehow crammed into a two minute long blast of metallic hardcore.
Elsewhere ‘Barren Land in Bloom’ introduces some mid-tempo stomp, bound to insight plenty of mean mugging. ‘Cut’ allows a brief reprieve from all the carnage featuring passages of clean guitars, acting as an instrumental palate cleanser around the record’s halfway point. Album closer ‘There Is No God Where I Am’ follows the usual metal trend of mixing things up for the final track. Clocking in at over seven minutes the song is much more expansive than what has come before it. Its mid section of brooding strings create a menacing atmosphere whilst building to a huge climax of sludgy guitars and rapturous screams.
It has to be mentioned that the rawness of this record is really refreshing in a world of quantised, overly polished, robotic production. The album feels angry and chaotic, as if everything could suddenly all fall apart under the weight of its own aggression. Another of its strengths is its awesome guitar tone. Evoking the sound of bands like Trap Them, the guitars are dirty and drenched in sludge yet somehow simultaneously surgically precise and cutting. There Is No God Where I Am shows a lot of potential and features enough original ideas to remain interesting across its runtime. With such a devastating debut record, Cruelty look set to be yet another great addition to the burgeoning UK hardcore scene.
There Is No God Where I Am is available on all major streaming platforms.