Fresno, California’s Cease have returned with another helping of vicious metallic hardcore. Like peers Homewrecker, Skinfather, Fuming Mouth and Gatecreeper, Cease play with dangerous forces, conjuring the devastation of death metal and marrying it to the unpleasant yet personable acrobatics of hardcore. The definition of metallic hardcore in a nutshell, I guess, but these bands and many other practitioners play with a light-bearing fire. Passionate beneath the shadows, Cease and friends are cutting off their pound of flesh from heavy music. Enter Unfold, their first proper release since last year’s demo and their third overall. Much more than Suffocation riffs flanked by Buried Alive breakdowns, within the confines of its four tracks this band accomplishes so much more.
Cease’s sound is not overt, it does not trick nor does pretend it’s anything but the feral, dead-upon-birth entity that it is. This is honest venom being spat, strummed or otherwise hammered out of Unfold‘s ten minute span. More simply put, these are pissed off jams for the sake of being pissed. The only strings attached are nooses that twist proverbially ever tighter with each icy note of discontent that Cease issues. What can be considered Neanderthal music by passerby is merely a mask for the tortured shell beneath. As is the case with nearly all music, that is ever relevant here with Cease. “Fear” moves at a calculated clip, spending its first half minute on laying the groundwork on which its hefty sound may stand. When the vocals begin their haunting so does the business in earnest and it never relents, churning swirling circle pits into knuckle-breaking crowd splitters with tectonic ease. The gloomily poetic “Roses and Weeds” ensnares with its forlorn air, striking up such a foggy thick atmosphere that it’s near a surprise when the dull, rusted tone of guitar and bass slice through it like wolf to lamb.
Label: Transylvanian Tapes
Its arrival heralded by a wall of alternating feedback that morphs into towering riffs; “Sink Into Me” is the standout track on Unfold, despite its downtrodden content. At the two-minute mark, Cease cut their teeth (and us) with a one-two-punch of a death metal-forged breakdown that is quickly usurped by a vertigo-inducing, bleak solo that proceeds to waltz away the track’s heaviest moments right to the end. Ending the release is a superb cover of Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues,” an apt choice, as traces of the Swedish legends’ body of work finds its way into Cease’s work. With their own body of work ever expanding like an insatiable pack of wolves, Cease prove once more with Unfold that they’re the real mean deal.
Cease’s prior releases can be found on their Bandcamp.