In early May of this year, many fans speculated that Red Death had broken up. Frontman Chad Troncale took to the Twittersphere via a short video to assure their audience this was not the case — a blessing, as the D.C. thrash/hardcore powerhouse could not have offered Formidable Darkness in their absence.
Powerful elements of '80s thrash metal are welcomed further to the forefront of Red Death's newly developed sound, while their earlier metallic hardcore influences sit subtly on the back burner. Formidable Darkness marches like a hardcore Motörhead, incorporating guitar solos at blistering pace (as on "Restless Acts of Madness," "Usurped") while tastefully employing punishing moments of mosh-inducing groove on "Archangel Void" and "Iron Willed," the album's heaviest track.
Formidable Darkness was produced by Arthur Rizk, who also provided his services to Power Trip's 2017 breakout release, Nightmare Logic. Comparisons between the two bands are often undeniable (drummer Connor Donegan can also occasionally be found in Power Trip's ranks as a temporary member), but Troncale lays out the differences between the groups with a performance that often incorporates spoken-word and melody to diversify his vocal tone. While the first minute-and-a-half of "Parasite's Paradise" lacks his presence, the spacey vocals on the latter half of the song seal it; this is one of the most dangerous releases that the genre will see this year. (Triple B Records)