Baltimore’s Noisem defy demise, regroup forces for splattering return offering ‘Cease to Exist’

Photo by Andrea Dieguez

Momentum doesn’t always mean anything. It can end in an instant because life and circumstances often get in the way, so just when you think you’re on top of the world, you can find things crumbling around you in an instant. What you do from there means a lot about your desire and hunger to get what you want, and sometimes people aren’t strong enough to endure and just give up.

Baltimore-based death-grind crushers Noisem seemed primed to break out as one of the most promising bands in a strong wave of underground thrash bands. Its members were high school age when their debut “Agony Defined” arrived in 2013 and made a massive impact, and things seemed even better when they followed that with “Blossoming Decay” two years later. But then things fell apart. Seemingly, anyway. Vocalist Tyler Carnes and bassist brother Billy fled the fold, leaving guitarist Sebastian Phillips and his drummer brother Harley to pick up the pieces. They did just that, reuniting with former fellow Necropsy member Ben Anft on bass and vocals, and they have stormed back with their third record “Cease to Exist,” an album that’s a step in a different direction, as well as forward. The thrashy strains remain, but the vocals are nastier, and they go more in a death grind direction, whipping out 10 tracks in an economic, but effective 21:31.

“Constricted Cognition” rips the record’s guts out with a thrashy feel that carries over a bit from their previous era, splattering growls, and the chorus killing before soloing rips in and burns things out. “Deplorable” takes control and buried bodies as gnarly growls and bone-splitting playing adds to the carnage. Some melodic sections blur into the madness before the cut bows out. “Penance for the Solipsist” is fast and mean with a nasty assault swinging for faces, the growls destroying, and drubbing playing leaving ample bruising, both mentally and physically. “Putrid Decadence” storms by with charging riffs, growls striking, and white-hot demolition that burns everything to the ground. “Filth and Style” is a 56-second blast of grind and twisted metallic gears that enact total violence.

“Eyes Pried Open” punches its way in with riffs smoking in a smothering, albeit catchy, assault. The guitars go off, scorching flesh alive, and the scream of, “Serotonin sickness, plaguing my existence,” hammers home the nauseating coffin nails. “Sensory Overload” rampages the gates with raspy growls and screams, devious menace, and bursts of speed that rush by you before you know you’ve been hit. “Downer Hound” crunches you within its teeth as a sweltering, yet utterly furious tempo wreaks havoc. The playing powders bones while the soloing ignites, ending in a burst of thunder. “So Below” already is blazing when it starts, sending shrapnel flying and loose metal into your eye sockets. Guitars light up while a sound cloud rises, leading into finale “Ode to Absolution,” where that noise melts into a slower, sludgier drive. The playing is ugly and doomy before the track is shredded, with speed and intensity multiplying before the terror is skyrocketed into space.

It will be interesting in a live setting to hear how Noisem pairs their older material with the deadly tracks that make up “Cease to Exist.” This is almost like hearing an altogether new band, albeit one with ties to a decaying body it left behind long ago. This new lease on life is something Noisem is using to their advantage, and they’ve never sounded quite as deadly as they do on this ripper of an album.

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