Perseverance is Contrast the Water‘s second full length and it delivers on what you’d expect from this East Coast powerhouse. The album is filled with brutal riffs, groovy drums, and incredible Johann Hegg-esque vocals delivered by Barry Drewett. One gets the idea that this album is about the title, “perseverance”. It wasn’t too long ago that Barry was hospitalised after an assault outside Burn Nightclub; and the band has come from that stronger than ever, and now deliver a brutal assault of their own on the public.
The first track, “Beware… Be Warned!” sets the tone for the entire album. If you were expecting a ballad, you’re listening to the wrong band. Perseverance is a full scale aural attack. The song starts off with earth shattering double bass, riffage to make you just wet with anticipation. “The rolling self-righteous, forcing its belief by aggressive military means” pretty much sums it up. This entire album has a very war-like overtone. Or rather, the injustice of war.
After the opener we get treated to “Soldier’s Lament”, which is about the injustice of sending children off to fight in a war for a cause they may not believe in. Technically, this is a brilliantly structured song, with one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in a LONG time.
Things take a decidedly more aggressive tone with “Suffocated by Maggots”. Hard and fast drumming, coupled with decidedly grooving guitar throughout. Definitely a song to get those heads banging and the pit spinning.
“Death Mirrors Mine Eyes” is one of the tracks, where guitarists Allen and Aaron shine. The fretwork is superb and coupled with Barry’s vocal delivery, ranging from high-pitch screams and truly guttural growling, make this a definite hit for the more puritanical death metal fan.
I’ve been waiting to hear “Washing the Spears” again since Contrast the Water‘s performance at RAMfest 2011 and it delivers on every promise made on that day. This is easily the hardest, fastest and grooviest song on the album and my personal favourite. It also shows a definite pride in being South African. The song deals with the Zulu coming of age ritual. Hell, I’m still chanting “Wash the spear! Wet the blade! Blood ritual!”
“Death Takes it Toll” is a song about rape and murder, A testament to the band’s desire to be not only purveyors of metal, but also socially conscious – spreading a message through their music, but without forcing it down your throat.
A eerily slow tone builds to introduce “Defile”. Squealing guitar tones quickly change up into dirty, raw riffs that progress to a very groove-driven bridge. Another track to get the heads banging.
“My Pride Is All I Have” is another song that starts with a slower introduction, flowing quickly into a solid mid-tempo attack. Another one of my favourites on the album, It’s almost like the singalong mumber. A showcase of the band as an amazingly talented whole. Something about this makes everything just blend so seamlessly together. At this point, I had forgotten that Contrast the Water were from Durban. If you told me, they were spawned at the gates of Hell, I would have believed you!
The last track is entitled “Fallen”. The production takes a slight dip on this song and it seems like it was previously recorded, and latched on for the fans. The song itself still grooves the living hell outta you though!
Perseverance is a testament to Contrast the Water‘s ability to overcome adversity, to deliver truly brutal metal, and they show no signs of slowing down! This is a solid album delivered by one of our country’s premier metal acts. If you love death metal, buy this album now! Even if you’re not, buy it anyway; it’ll grow on you!
Listen to “Washing the Spears” below:
South African album launch tour dates:
August 19 – The Red Door, Petermaritzburg
August 20 – Burn Nightclub, Durban