Review: Corrosion, EP (Mas-Kina, 2015)

Corrosion's three-song Mas-Kina Recordings debut seems to be getting the most attention due to the presence of former Trivium drummer Nick Augusto—alongside Tommy Hjelm (vocals, guitar, bass) and Martin Rygge (guitar) from Insense and Beaten to Death, and guitarist Christopher Cussell (Before the Mourning). This seems especially irrelevant due to the fact that this 16-minute EP sounds little to nothing like Trivium, and—at least to my ears—should really be geared towards an entirely different audience altogether. I gave it a listen out of curiosity because I've been intrigued by Insense in the past—though they never completely won me over (I'll certainly be revisiting 'em now)—and I'm glad I did, 'cause I dig it. Big time.

It's a "progressive" take on "modern" extreme metal, but I'm completely out of touch with the vast majority of that, so to me it essentially feels like a distinguished Scandinavian metal side project of the past 10 - 15 years. Part Meshuggah, hints of Extol, bits of Martyr, pieces of Fear Factory, and of course similarities to Insense. Lots of in your face chugging and thick, gnashing power chords with jarring use of rhythmic twists and quirky timing, but the blatant heaviness is countered with loads of melody and awesome dissonant chord phrasings. It's certainly technical, but doesn't have that "tech" vibe, if you know what I mean. They cover a lot of ground in four- to six-minute songs, and manage to do so without the changeups feeling too abrupt.

Somewhat more chaotic in structure and variety, opener "You Want This" is actually my favorite track overall, integrating some fast-paced blasts and absolutely badass dual guitar panning rhythms, not to mention an excellent vocal performance. Upon first listen elements of the vocals had me on the fence, but I'm not sure why: by the second time around I was hooked on Hjelm's frequent and flawless transitions from singing to shouting/screaming, and his perfect fusion of the two.

"Prone to Dreams" is a little bit shorter, slower, and more streamlined; its added breathing room allowing the percussion to shine. In addition to darker, discordant textures and some melodic Swedish-styled riffing, you'll also encounter atmospheric passages that occasionally flirt with hints of "post-metal." Somewhat reminiscent of Darkane, "Machine Says No" closes out with a faster and more hectic take on said dark discordance—loaded with powerful riffs and cool contrasts between clean and distorted guitars. Those emphatic melodies and sustained notes during the outro are just killer.

Minor complaints production-wise are that the bass gets eaten up a bit, and there are definitely some additional guitar parts layered in that are quite hard to pick out. Guitars and vocals dominate, but there's some oomph to the percussion, which is always nice. The mix feels harsh on occasion, but good overall. Very listenable. There's always room for improvement, right?

Quite an impressive debut, I'd say. I'm surprised how excited I am by Corrosion. Their memorable songwriting feels familiar, but still creative and different from the norm. I'm really looking forward to hearing more, and hope the wait won't be long!

I believe the EP is only available digitally, so stream or download for a mere $2.50 via Bandcamp.

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