Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree
Releases April 7, 2017
Mike Low – Mixing
Zak Denham – Mastering
Justin Abraham – Artwork
I am thrilled to bring you guys my review of the highly anticipated debut Virulent Depravity album, Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree.
The line up for Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree is; Colin Butler – Composition / Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Malcolm Pugh – Guitar
Kévin Paradis – Drums
I believe for the next album, the lineup will remain the same, with different guest appearances to look forward to. This is some of the most complexly composed material I have ever heard. The riffs are unreal, but retain catchiness, and are melodic in their own, incredibly technical way. Lots of great harmonizations and riff counter points.
Some songs with particularly great riffs are; “Beyond The Point Of No Return”, there is a SICK harmony melodic riff that repeats. Definitely one of my favorite riffs I have heard in a long time. The solos are insane. Some very creative licks and a unique, but epic feel utilized. All of the solo tones sound awesome, and fit, but sound individualized, especially the difference between Colin and Malcolm’s tones. Malcolm’s seems to sound more melodic, similar to his “A Loathing Requiem” tone, but still fit for this project. Where Colin’s tone seems a bit more alien in sound. The guest solos are all rather distinct as well. Mark Hawkins (Devolved) rips the first solo on the entire album with a very crisp tone right into a killer solo by Malcolm and a sweet melodic solo by Colin. The most similar of all the guest solos to Colin’s tone is Elijah Whitehead, who performs a killer solo after Colin on “Mechanized Defilement”. One of my favorite solos on the album by far as well.
This album isn’t just technically proficient though. Your mind will be blown with its feel and passion as well. “Only Human” begins with a beautiful, clean section into an almost classically influenced lead, into the brutality. It comes back to awesome soulful sections later on as well, one, after an awesome guest solo by Craig Peters (Deeds OF Flesh, Destroying The Devoid, ex-Arkaik), flowing incredibly with a nice bass part into a sweet groovy riff and beautiful solo by Colin. The song has some more badass verses, a chorus and a few more killer solos by Colin. The ending is very soulful as well and goes back to that Neo-classical vibe.
The closing track, “Crushed By Futuristic Filth”, is one of the most well-rounded. It is crushing and beautiful and so much more. It has an amazing soft section with a keyboard solo by Jimmy into a completely heart wrenching, beautifully written, emotional but uplifting solo by Malcolm. It is really fantastic! After smoothly going back to brutality it then sounds like it is over at about 5 minutes in and it kind of spirals into a beautifully written guest solo by the young virtuoso, Sims Cashion, over a soft section with keys and more beauty as well.
The bass isn’t overshadowed either. Often in albums when it is performed by the primary composer who is a guitarist, the bass gets the role of simply “holding down the low-end”. Not here. Not only does it have an “EXCELLENT” tone, but Colin steps in and out (mostly out) of the guitar work and throws in a lot of perfectly placed, totally sick fills. He mixes up the technique a lot as well. Between finger picking, slap parts and cool tap licks. The bass has it all on this album. All the tracks have awesome bass. We’ve established this, but some songs have especially great parts that are worth mentioning. Such as “Only Human” has a great bass part during a soft instrumental section in the middle of the song. “Mechanized Defilement” has awesome fills, strategically placed to grab your attention through the entire song, and there is a stop with a nice bass sweep which everyone loves when done right. In the last song, “Crushed By Futuristic Filth”, following the guitar solo is a piano solo with an amazing bass line under it. Not overly shred-dy, just so good. The piano continues after the rest of the instruments stop to give a bleak, but slightly hopeful sounding end.
The vocals are just “WOW“! He utilizes so many different tones as tasteful accents, while the main tone seems to be a low mid to a low that are very aggressive. The delivery is what really gets me here. Most of it is well enunciated and while crushingly brutal and technical, still fairly easy to understand. At other times he uses what I call, “vocal artistic integrity” and just massacres us with some of the sickest deliveries I have ever heard. Especially during certain techy riffs, the speed and ability to manipulate words slightly to fit perfect, is incredibly impressive. The vocal speed and delivery in “Serpentine Messiah”, some of the line in “Your Demise” and, the vocals in “Beyond The Point Of No Return” are ridiculous and some of the verses in “Crushed By Futuristic Filth” are nearly inhuman. Simply astonishing performance. Hard to keep up to even reading along at times. “Your Demise” also has some really great delivery in lines that are not incredibly fast. My favorite being “as you sleep in your cocoon of ignorance, night approaches and we are coming for you” before Malcolm’s solo. The delivery is simply sinister and perfect. The whole song has excellent vocals, not to mention the whole damn album.
The drum performance is also totally crazy. Ridiculously fast blasts with meticulously placed but sporadic at the same time fills. He is capable of basically any type of beat he demonstrates. He tastefully and strategically places occasional gravity blasts, but mostly keeping to jarring blasts and crazy bursts and fills. The snare beats and kick bursts in the first verse of “Serpentine Messiah” is just nuts. Incredible doubly kick speed and stamina through the whole album. especially on that song, “Spineless Obedience, Your Demise”, “Bad Drug”, “Beyond The Point Of No Return”, and “Only Human”. As well as super tasty cymbal word with the changing between crashes / Chinas / splashes and even super tasty hi-hat use between hits. It is my understanding that Colin composed all of the riffs, and wrote general ideas for the drums, but it was all basically Kevin. He even records in his home studio. Which is a huge plus to me. The drums have a very refreshingly organic sound, which can especially be heard during the softer instrumental sections. The cymbals sound amazing and are panned great. Everything about the drum performance, engineering and mix is completely stellar in my opinion.
One thing I really love about the album is that while being absolutely mind-boggling-ly technical, it remains cohesive, and often even has a psychedelic vibe. At times the lead tone helps achieve this, such as the solo in “Spineless Obedience” and a lead section, in “Desecrating Eden”, which comes back at the end also and I just love it and the way the guitar mixes with the Keyboard solo in the middle. This is a largely unexplored sound in the genre and it has been demonstrated magnificently here. With classical level intricacy in the composition and a modern spin to the technicality and riff style mixed with the perfect levels of brutality and passion in the right places. There is even some Neo-classically influenced licks. If this isn’t one of the most creative and well-rounded albums in Death Metal history, then I must have a lot to learn. Definite contender for album of the year! Get on this people! Soon! … I want vinyl.
For fans of Spawn Of Possession, First Fragment, Anomalous, Archspire, Inanimate Existence, Ending Tyranny
Jimmy Pitts – Keys (Track 4, 10)
Mark Hawkins – Solo (Track 1)
Nick Padovani – Solo (Track 6)
Craig Peters – Solo (Track 8)
Elijah Whitehead – Solo (Track 9)
Sims Cashion – Solo (Track 10)
Nathan Bounds – Guest Vocals (Track 10)
Check out the early stream from Tech Death Tuesday HERE