Hailing from The Netherlands and Slovakia, European deathcore group Distant’s newest record, ‘Heritage,’ is one of pure rage and chaos. Describing their style as downtempo deathcore with influences from brutal death metal, slam, and beatdown, Distant continues to develop their sound as they delve deeper into ferocious grooves and hard-hitting riffs and breakdowns. ‘Heritage’ is a journey through the depths of deathcore, filled with insane moments that never leave a moment to breathe.
From the beginning of opener “Acid Rain/Paradigm Shift” to the concluding moments of “Plaguebreeder,” Distant relentlessly bombards listeners with nonstop intense and aggressive deathcore. Mixing heavy-handed grooves and breakdowns with elaborate and expansive synthwork and technical leads, ‘Heritage’ is simultaneously a beatdown and an immersive epic performance. The ferocious rhythmic abrasiveness of “The Grief Manifest” is elevated to an even greater level by its subtle guitar leads that give way to technical passages and eerie atmosphere, especially toward the final moments of the track. “The Gnostic Uprising”’s fast-paced deathcore intro is contrasted by a melodic intertwining of riffs and synths that provides an outstanding atmospheric feeling. The intense chugging breakdowns of tracks like “Human Scum” and “Born of Blood” follow standard deathcore motifs while still managing to make the moments all the more enjoyable. Along with the aggressive moments, the subdued, yet highly impactful, tremolo melodies of “Ardent Justice” and “Orphan of Blight” provide a subtle beauty to the chaos of the music.
However, one of the most impressive highlights of ‘Heritage’ lies in the vocal performances. Throughout the record, the vocals are relentless, embracing various highs and lows with impressive technique. The intense lows on “Plaguebreeder” result in a chaotic conclusion to the record, while the mix of highs, lows, and mids throughout “Exofilth” provide a testament to the undeniable talent saturated within the music. Most impressive, however, is that of “Ardent Justice,” which is not just one vocal performance, but 16 others. Featuring vocals from Emmure, ten56., Carcosa, and many others, the track seamlessly combines all of the vocal styles from these various artists into one cohesive performance. “Ardent Justice” alone elevates ‘Heritage’ to a new standard of deathcore.
Although the album never really deviates from the traditional tropes surrounding deathcore, Distant manages to fire on all cylinders, resulting in an unrelenting listen full of grooves, breakdowns, and intense atmosphere. ‘Heritage,’ full of its abrasiveness and contrasting melodic moments, establishes itself as a fantastic downtempo/deathcore record that is sure to satisfy those in need of an absolute beatdown musically.