Oxygen Destroyer, a group destined to deliver punishing music centered around themes relating to Japanese Kaiju culture (popularly known for the Godzilla franchise), just released their debut LP. Let’s see if this record transmogrifies me into a horrific beast that wants to decimate Asian civilizations.
The Seattle native group Oxygen Destroyer just released their first full-length record Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death on April 5th, 2018 on an independent label. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, the album delivers a crushing sound through a quick tempo that never ceases to let up, apart from the various well-placed samples strewn throughout the record.
The release itself is a concept album entailing the progress of destruction caused by a Kaiju beast. The term pertains to the Japanese subgenre of movies that are based around giant monsters that threaten those who happen to fall within their paths. The most popular entity from this genre is the world-renowned Godzilla beast, that was originally featured in the 1954 film of the same name. Since then, multiple versions of the Godzilla storyline have been published which has spread its popularity to the masses.
Oxygen Destroyer continues to spread the specific Kaiju theme itself that is still only mainly cited within Japanese culture and has not reached worldwide popularity yet. Films revolving around these leviathan creatures have not been strangers to the North American box office as titles like Pacific Rim and 10 Cloverfield Lane have succeeded within the world of modern cinema. However, Oxygen Destroyer plays towards a greater theme with their material, shining light on the Japanese origins of massive-monster films.
The album cover offers the listener an image of the creature in question, showing off a reptile/dinosaur looking hybrid that is in the process of decimating a Japanese village. The lyrical content discusses the general destruction and terror caused by a massive Kaiju beast, but they develop the theme further than that by discussing the monster’s origins, citing hydrogen bombs as a cause for the beast’s creation. The artists therefore take a firm stance in regard to their opinions set forth through the album; those being that human technological warfare has been pushed too far and will ultimately result in consequences greater than what our minds can fathom.
This lyrical content is delivered in a linear fashion, as the first song “Cleansing the Earth of Humanity’s Existence” introduces the scenario that created the monster. The content in this track solidifies our involvement with the beast’s creation, as it has “Thermonuclear energy coursing through his veins” as a result of a hydrogen bomb explosion. The tracks that follow further detail the destruction caused by the leviathan in question. “Death to the False King”, the record’s second-to-last song, offers a conclusion to the monster’s reign, discussing its demise. The participants within the story of the beast’s fall are described very vaguely, and while it is clear there is one winner after the encounter, the listener is left to question who remains. Below are the song’s brief lyrics:
Wretched pretender, feeble aggressor, shunned throughout history
Tonight I’ll ensure your demise for defiling my legacy
Grasping your throat as I cringe in disgust at your meaningless existence
I knew that tuna eating monster wasn’t up to much
As you can see, the listener is led to believe that the Kaiju monster falls at the hands of its human opposition. However, upon further inspection, the victor within the situation could also be the beast itself. The final line, “I knew that tuna eating monster wasn’t up to much”, could be the artist calling out humanity’s excessive and ever-consuming nature, as we are the tuna eating monsters who have fallen to the revenge of a bigger fish. This song is left up to the listener’s opinion, but since the album sets out to highlight the consequences of poor human decisions, I would argue that the beast is truly the ultimate victor.
The lyrical themes do begin to get repetitive however, even for such a short release. While the story is well introduced at the beginning and concluded in an interesting manner during the record’s end, the middle section fails develop the theme any further. Since the vocals themselves are fairly harsh and the listener is not necessarily expected to follow the story through simply listening to the release’s content, this is not necessarily a glaring issue. It is however the album’s weak point, as I would have liked to see a greater effort put into the lyrical themes.
The instrumentation on the record is fairly exceptional. While one might fall prey to getting lost within the chaotic nature of the subgenre they are nonetheless taken for a wild ride. My favourite track of the release is the first song “Cleansing the Earth of Humanity’s Existence”, as it is one of the longer songs. Its introduction section is phenomenal and offers a diverse range of riffing and drum beats with the inclusion of a couple screams and echoed yells that really add to the song’s ferocity. These positive elements remain consistent throughout the rest of the record, while still keeping the listener entertained as a result of an overarching diverseness.
To return to the aforementioned weak point of the release, I feel like the band has put themselves into a corner with their devotion to the Kaiju theme. They previous demos and EPs have also been centered around this storyline and the group doesn’t seem to be straying away from it, as their Bandcamp page is called “Brutal Thrashing Kaiju Metal”, also a name of one of their demos. I’m not so sure another concept album of a similar theme would entice me enough to stay interested in any of their upcoming releases, even if their instrumentation is overly redeemable.
In conclusion, Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death is a phenomenal debut release and will be an enjoyable record for any fans of extreme metal. While the record itself is unique, offers excellent instrumentation, and generally features consistent redeemable qualities, it reveals some unavoidable issues regarding theme monotony that the group will have to deal with when discussing future releases.