As death metal continues to maintain a strong following, bands like This Is Endless remain an important part of the framework. The sub genre was never built for all conquering accessibility, instead its survival has hinged on a consistent stream of bands that execute the blueprint with aplomb - something the five piece pull off on Formations Of A World Below.
With that said though, to their credit, This Is Endless make specific effort to modernise their debut record where they can.'Insect' has the snappy, pinching guitar lines that Code Orange use so effectively, and 'Back To The Soil' is lead by the kind of bass driven groove you'd find on Venom Prison's Samsara. It's high praise indeed, but Formations Of A World Below often justifies its existence with its own craftsmanship.
Sensibly the record comes with its fair inclusion of classic death metal too. 'Into The Hive' is your no frills, death metal punch along, and 'Skin Cyst' blows the record's doors straight off its hinges with its blast beat, and growl lead attack. There's still a structural challenge at play here though, and Formations Of A World Below rarely settles for a singular tempo - This Is Endless flit from sludge to speed metal at the drop of a dime.
It's not just its unpredictable tempo that makes the record a dead cert to be gobbled up by death metal aficionados though. The band take their individual experiences with hardcore and groove and imprint them on the records skin. The caustic one-two punch of 'Creature Of Habit' and 'The Damned And The Weak' wouldn't land with half as much of their intensity if it wasn't for the bouncing, Devildriver-esque rhythm section that runs underneath them.
Formations Of A World Below does an apt job of fitting in as many plot twists as it can think of while still conforming to death metal conventions. Not as experimental as Rivers Of Nihil's Where Owls Know My Name, but not as predictable as a number of records you see permeating the genre in the current day: This Is Endless have burst out the gates here with a solid, bruising debut.