AlbumsMarch 22, 20232,141 views

Kruelty Untopia

1. Unknown Nightmare 2. Harder Than Before 3. Burn The System 4. Reincarnation 5. Maze Of Suffering 6. Manufactured Insanity 7. Untopia
2023 Southern Lord Records
Our score 8


Kruelty got a wealth of new eyes and ears on them with the help of a split with the great Terminal Nation last year, yours truly included. Being a Japanese band, it’s an unfortunate reality that they’d be overlooked by many in favor of the myriad of bands from Western countries that tend to get platformed - another problem for another day. While Kruelty are far from the first death metal band to put Japan on the map, they make an impressive case as to why you should start paying attention.


In line with classic Japanese bands you may know like samurai-metal stalwarts Gotsu Totsu Kotsu, Kruelty are death metal, but they got some hardcore-ish tendencies and a sludgy tone that sets them apart from the pack. As heavy as their sound is, it does not shirk the melody and catchiness whatsoever. This is the biggest selling point of their work with Untopia, the band’s sophomore LP, making that more apparent than ever.

First off, let’s shout out that damn snare tone. It’s so snappy, something that doesn’t work well for some bands, but the grime and grit that Kruelty ask you to jump into demands it. Guitars are meaty as hell and the vocals are guttural and coarse. Kruelty have a tremendous amount of heart in their performances and there honestly isn’t a single weak moment on this album. This is the kind of knuckle-dragging horseshit I love.


From the ass-beating riffs in “Reincarnation” to the ghastly vocals and murderous breakdown of the title track, Untopia is action-packed with a lot of good, fun ideas that get the head nodding. While not the most innovative thing you could invest time into, this is a must-listen if you prefer your death metal melodic - not in the melodeath/Gothenburg sense, in the literal sense that’s catchy and alluring. Kruelty really stepped up their writing and it’s already been solid since their 2019 debut album, A Dying Truth.

It’s hard to single out specific songs because they are all just about plateaued up high with each other in greatness, housing dense instrumentation that has a great ebb and flow, somewhat varied vocals to keep things interesting, and a dank and rusty air about it that feels threatening at all times. “Unknown Nightmare” earns special mention for being a great scene setter, slowing things down to a doomy crawl, but also notching up to a rampaging tempo to keep things moving. “Maze Of Suffering” has a great, haunting atmosphere that’s expounded on with deliberate, menacing guitars. The riff in the middle of “Manufactured Insanity“ is one of the best on the album and one of the best I’ve heard all year.


I’ll level with you - Kruelty don’t do much outside of established norms, but the quality all lies in the execution. Untopia is profoundly strong and competent in what it sets out to do. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel if you still know how to run over motherfuckers with it and this album is a hell of a steamroller. Not only that, but it’s a reminder to keep an eye out on more forgotten regions of the world - they can hold hidden gems just like your more prolific regions and they deserve some shine too.

Bottom line: Kruelty did their homework, bending disparate yet related influences into one boiling cauldron of malice. Untopia is primal, relentless, consistent, and, yes, brutal. That’s all there is to it, and they stand to be a true worldwide force to be reckoned with in death metal. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a highlight of 2023 when the end of the year comes.


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anonymous 71 days ago


anonymous 71 days ago

Still not as good as Zulu, which got a 9.

anonymous 71 days ago

This is good. zulu is shit

anonymous 70 days ago

Wow some of their slow "breakdown" shit game me goosebumps. Fantastic stuff right here start to finish! I'm officially a fan.

anonymous 70 days ago

The D. stands for Douch

anonymous 69 days ago

Yeah so this is actually really good