I just listened to Death Toll 80K’s new album and overall second full length, Step Down (Svart Records) and my first instinct was to search the floor for my glasses and any missing teeth. Not to worry, gentle reader, my teeth are still firmly attached, and no physical harm has been visited upon my Ray-Ban’s, but Step Down is bound to leave some scars on my psyche.
But that’s okay, I hear that pain helps build character.
What do you need to know about Death Toll 80K? Well, they’re Finnish, have been around since 2005 and apparently gathered up all the world’s current frustration and smoldering rage and charged it into one LP. That LP simmers with some ghost peppers until it’s around sixteen minutes in length and chopped into 17 individual slices of musical deconstruction. And I truly mean deconstruction, as I’m not presently sure that we can properly classify ‘Lack of Perspective’ and ‘Blame the Victim’ as actual songs. They burn and slash with such ferocity and ugliness that it seems like the band’s intended purpose is to destroy what we know as music. We’ll refer to them as anti-songs for the time being.
And spoiler alert, that’s like 95 percent of Step Down. No ambient keyboards, intermissions, samples, or spoken-word to soften the piston-like blows of ‘Cause Avoid’ and ‘Diminish’ with their guitars set to machine shop noise. With playing so deep into the red the only moments that vaguely approach a reprieve are to be found on the “longer” tracks on the album. As a disclaimer, I’m not saying that ‘Hydra’ and ‘Process’ get soft in the midsection. No, here the speed just dips a tad while veering into a latter career Pig Destroyer and Slayer hybrid. When these songs aren’t blasting away they settle into some wicked Thrash Metal grooves.
So, buy the ticket and bite down on your mouthpiece if you’re a connoisseur of all things extreme. Death Toll 80K is the new pain you’ve been looking for.