Review: And Hell Followed With – Proprioception

Artist: And Hell Followed With
Album: Proprioception
Genre: Deathcore
Label: Earache

Medically speaking, proprioception is the unconscious perception of the movement within the body itself. Conceptually and artistically this function is translated flawlessly in the appropriately titled album, of the same name, from And Hell Followed With. The cover art features an alluring demon girl with gaping wounds with her lower half spilling out onto skulls. The sheer savagery the artwork embodies is what AHFW live for and the shock value alone is enough to catch a lot of attention and build anticipation for their newest release. Reigning from the recession-ridden state of Michigan AHFW have experienced adversities that would normally break most groups but they didn’t flinch as their dedication and strength radiated. Their blend of music embraces the brutal elements of contemporary deathcore while incorporating shredding that would be welcomed on a thrash metal album. Since their inception they have garnered a respectable and loyal following in the mid-west, taking each scene on one at a time. It wasn’t until after their debut album, Domain released that they gained the attention of renowned label, Earache and subsequently found themselves back in the studio to work on their latest creation, Proprioception.

And Hell Followed With is an accurate snapshot of what the deathcore movement is all about, the marriage between death metal and metalcore. While their debut album, Domain displayed immense potential it ultimately fell flat towards the final half and demonstrated more of a monotonous binding rather than a genuine union. With greater experience under their belt, AHFW take significant steps forward on Proprioception. With this being vocalist Nick Holland’s last run with the band, the question arises; did he go out with explosive force or merely a little whimper? Although this album is a great improvement, its downfalls hinder it from being in the forefront of the countless deathcore releases recently. But Holland shines, his monstrous voice is an Earth-shattering balance between low gutturals and high, mids, and lower registered screams. His diversity is compelling and carries a lot of strength of the album. This record also delivers a thought provoking conceptual message that sets it apart from its predecessor. The backbone of the album is constructed around a girl and the downfall of her sanity whilst witnessing the corruption of today’s society.

Kicking things off simplistically with, “Mara,” an instrumental that starts off subtly but midway through hits a dramatic rise of deep chugging and thick layers. “This Night is the Coroner’s” trails after with the same dramatic dexterity in mind, as the music ascends from heavy grooves to melodic sensibilities underlying repeating gang chants. The foundation of Proprioception is seemingly built solely on being as heavy as possible and no deathcore record would feel the same with the use of trademark breakdowns and if you’re a fan than this album won’t disappoint. It’s littered with heart-stopping beats that will get you amped to hit the pit. However, as enticing as they are, almost every song incorporates them and leaves opposers wanting more substance than the typical chug-fest. A few tracks later comes, “Those Now Sleep Forever, which is undeniably the highlight of the album. It serves as an epitome of the talent each member possesses and the quality of their songwriting. The opening bars unleash hyperbolic speed riffs and a fury of double bass with interweaving blast beats. As the track moves on you’re hit with numerous build-ups and breakdowns that culminate to a gorgeous melodic passage. Following in the same vein of soothing melody, And Hell Followed With takes a dynamic shift from their aggressive sound on the instrumental piece “Perpetual Abyssma.” This track supplies a welcomed break to the intensity and showcases their ability to deliver more than just necessities that make up a metal album.

Proprioception is chock filled with snarling-speed brutality weaved with mesmerizing melody, but in the scope of the genre, they offer nothing we haven’t heard before. The death metal segments are merited but more often than not are terminated by aimless chugging and sometimes excessive “core” elements that derives away from the band’s actual capabilities. Nonetheless, And Hell Followed With have demonstrated that they are taking a giant step in the right direction and this release further displays their considerable talent and potential.

Score: 6.5/10
Review written by: Nerissa Judd

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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