Picture this: A pretty little angel flows down from the heavens to spread love and joy to this earth. Now picture a demon grabbing the angel by the ankle and dragging it down to hell while said angel slowly burns to a crisp. After, listen to Memnoch’s Command Hallucination and you might get an idea of what a soundtrack to that scene would sound like.
If you want something that will totally brutalize your ears and crank you up past the boiling point, then this album is definitely for you. When listening to Memnoch’s onslaught, I could imagine the craziness and intensity these guys must bring to a live show. It’s no doubt impressive, but unfortunately not something I profoundly enjoyed.
There are a few problems with this album, first being the bass. Singer and bassist Inho Kwak has one of those voices where you wonder “How is he even doing that?” but the bass is lacking. Often, when the music is relentless and wild, the low end gets lost in the mix. With guitarists Minsu Kim and Jaeseung Lee tearing it down, there isn’t much room to hear the bass groove, not that there are many grooves in a brutal style like this. Drummer Seunghwi Confyverse Kim does a solid job of keeping the tempo, but even then, the abusive double bass pedal and simplistic fills don’t stand out much. One could compare the intensity of the music to Cannibal Corpse or Slayer, both being godfathers for extreme genres of metal. That being said, there isn’t much diversity between tracks beside the one or two things below.
Putting aside the negatives aspects, Command Hallucination has some memorable moments. The track “Seraphic Retaliation” has a strong riff, giving the sense that this song might have more of a melody. It has a middle eastern vibe that resonates well with me. Also worth mentioning, both guitarists abundantly use pinch harmonics, but during the track “Crucifix Revenge,” it has something a special effect to it. It was a nice touch and made the song different from the rest. Finally, there are some clear vocals on the last track “Memnoch,” which I really enjoyed. Like the variant on the pinch harmonics, it added a layer of variation to the music, but I feel like there should have been more.
In the end, your love or hate of this album will solely depend on your appreciation of this type of music. If you’re into extreme genres of metal, then this album is definitely worth a listen. If you’re like me and enjoy melodies, slower riffs, independent bass lines and a strong blues sound, this might not be for you. Memnoch’s Command Hallucination was released on Dope Music Entertainment, check out these lads from South Korea and see for yourself!
Written by Johnathan Robinson
*edited by Mike Milito