Mass Rebel Infest is the third full-length album for Canberra four-piece Mental Cavity and their first on Creator-Destructor Records and follows 2019s Neuro Siege, 2017s Aneurysm and their debut Self-Titled EP. The band are made up of Aaron Osborne – vocals/guitar, Alex Young – vocals/bass, Rohan Todd – guitar/vocals and Simon Murphy on drums.
The cover art betrays a crust-punk influence which taken in combination with the Disrupt cover (Mindlock) points to a band willing to take on weightier subjects than the usual fantastical gore obsessions of your average death metal band. The album starts with Interred, Awoke which starts with a grinding riff ala vintage Morbid Angel before exploding into blistering hardcore featuring fairly standard guttural death metal vocals. I was impressed with the way the band switched styles at the drop of a hat.
Fractured Anvil has one hankering for first Hatebreed album (believe it or not) with absolutely massive breakdowns that one can imagine audiences going ape for. If ever you’ve watched the ‘Hatesix’ channel on YouTube and seen those moshpits, yeah, you’ll know what I’m talking about. At one minute forty five Mask Tearer strips away all niceties and goes straight for the throat. Some Kerry King style soloing features but doesn’t detract from the raw blast of hardcore fury.
Downtrodden was the first single to be released from the album and according to vocalist/guitarist Aaron Osbourne is ‘one of the first songs that I really vibed on for the record, it has a good collection of everything I like about Mental Cavity; heavy slow parts, faster d-beat sections, and a bit of death metal groove’. It would be hard pressed to disagree with him and there were moments when I was reminded of Sepultura Chaos AD, the track certainly sharing similar themes around socio-political injustices.
Mass Rebel Infest is a musical juggernaut and utterly relentless…
Micro Brain Foot Soldier channels Discharge and has slower passages that remind one of Autopsy’s twisted death-doom. As a not very frequent listener of death metal, it’s refreshing that the track was kept fairly succinct and didn’t drag at any point. Anointing The Filth as implied by the title is more rooted in death metal, the drumming reminding me of Pete ‘the feet’ Sandoval while Place Of Ease feels surprisingly melodic in places with riffs that somehow manage to lodge themselves in one’s brain, despite their chaotic intensity.
Apparite is another short but sweet number in a similar vein to Mask Tearer, no steady build-ups, no breakdowns, just a hefty kick to the nuts. The Portal sees a little of Atheist’s fusion-prog tinged death metal intertwined with an up-tempo punk beat making this the most interesting and varied track on the album. In fact Aaron himself revealed to Decibel Magazine that ‘the intro to this song is one of my favourites on the record…particularly how it moves quickly into a more up-paced groove section’.
Infest would have served as the album’s doomy instrumental outro had it not been for the two covers that follow, It’s The Limit by NYHC legends The Cro-Mags and Mindlock by crust-punks Disrupt. Both of these are played with such ferocity and passion that they help conclude the album on an exhilarating high.
Mass Rebel Infest is a musical juggernaut and utterly relentless, if you were looking for any respite then to quote Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, ‘you’re shit out of luck’. Some may find the band’s unapologetically bludgeoning approach a little exhausting, however for the most part I found it a cathartic and fun release with a crossover appeal that inspires me to check out their previous output.
Scribed by: Reza Mills