(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of three recent EPs, with music streams of course.)
Phew, time really flies doesn’t it? I mean, somehow it’s already September and although we still have a huge number of releases to look forward to before the year’s end, I find my mind already turning towards the upcoming Listmania with an equal mix of anticipation and trepidation.
Thankfully that particular furore is still a little way off and, although work is keeping me pretty darn busy at the moment, I should be able to fit in quite a lot of reviews and features before the time comes for our annual wrap-up.
So, without further ado, get ready to wrap your earholes around three short, but succulent morsels of Thrash, Death, and Death-Thrash courtesy of Entombment (USA), Iron Flesh (FR), and Seprevation (UK).
ENTOMBMENT – ENTOMBMENT
Easily the most melodic and ear-friendly of the three acts presented here, Texan thrashers Entombment still pack a hell of a punch, and deliver one seriously action-packed thrill-ride on their debut, self-titled EP, perfectly tailored for fans of Revocation, Sylosis, and their ilk.
Hook-heavy chugathon “False Ideals” is a near-perfect opener, quickly introducing you to the band’s meaty, modernised take on classic Thrash Metal tropes, in a sub-three-minute whirlwind of strafing lead-guitars and irresistibly headbangable riffs.
And while tracks like the gallop ‘n’ groove of “Burial” and the shamelessly infectious “No Power” don’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, the sheer energy and enthusiasm which bleeds through the speakers is more than enough to make up for this.
That being said, while Entombment may not be the most original collection of material, it’s far from just a one-note affair. The death-tinged strains of “The Obscure”, for example, showcase a much darker and more brutal side to the band, mixing brooding melody with punishing heaviness, while closer “Victim of Lies” is not only the longest track on the EP, but also the most complex and multifaceted, building from a surprisingly moody, slow-burning intro, into a parade of fret-scorching leads, pounding percussion, and riotous riffs worthy of Metallica in their prime.
More than anything else Entombment’s debut is just fantastic fun to listen to, every track imbued with a shameless zeal designed to get a rise out of even the most jaded and cynical amongst us.
IRON FLESH – WORSHIP THE NECROGOD
Brainchild of one Julien Helwin (ex-Otargos, ex-live drummer for Mithras, etc), who handles all instruments and vocals on this EP, the music of Iron Flesh is a nasty conglomeration of filthy, old-school riffs, gruesomely guttural vocals, and harsh, rusty hooks that should please fans of Autopsy, Grave, and early Hypocrisy no end.
Opener “Psychological Enslavement” and its follow-up, the voracious “Prophetic Mass Murdering”, both aptly epitomise the band’s raw and ravenous nature.
The guitar tone is a buzzing saw-toothed grind. The vocals a grim, mid-low growl somewhere between Ola Lindgren and Peter Tägtgren. The drums a bone-rattling barrage of whip-crack snare hits and primitive, punchy kick-patterns. And what melody there is sticks firmly to the dark and menacing end of the spectrum, here and there breaking cover in an auto-erotic spasm of malevolent lead work.
“Condemned to Submission” is a gloriously evil anthem of ghoulish, slow-burning riffs and bowel-shaking vocals, which occasionally flips over into a full-tilt berserker rampage, while “In Blood, Flesh, and Fire” is a stupidly catchy blast of venomously melodic Death Metal that features some of the best vocal and lead guitar work on the EP.
By the time morbid closer “Soul Devour” rumbles to an end there’s a good chance you’ll have a new favourite band, as the group – recently expanded to a full quartet for live appearances – do a damn good job of digging up the corpse of old-school Death Metal and pumping it full of new life.
SEPREVATION – ECHOES OF MERCY
Bridging the gap between our two previous entries, the new EP from British bruisers Seprevation delivers all the devastating delights of Death Metal coupled with the brash belligerence of Thrash, in four fearsome tracks of absolutely storming riffage and lacerating lead guitar licks.
Immediate comparisons with the likes of Death and Possessed spring to mind the second that “Slaughterous” kicks into (high) gear, the snarling vocals of Lluc Tupman (who also contributes a number of meaty metallic bass lines over the course of the EP) recalling classic Chuck Schuldiner, albeit with a deeper edge to them when needed, while the twin guitars of Joss Farrington and Ian Aston seem right on the verge of spontaneously combusting as they race along, keeping pace with the tumbling drums of sticksman Jamie Wintle.
If anything, “A Fate Beyond the Flesh” is even more intense than its predecessor, melding scathing blastbeats and whirling, technical fretwork with moments of hulking groove and punishing aggression, while the harsh harmonics and churning riffery of “The Death Ethos” initially take things in much more of a “pure” Death Metal direction, before a welcome injection of thrashy adrenaline kicks things up a notch.
Finishing things off with the scintillating Sadus-isms of the title-track, Seprevation don’t pull any punches on this EP, and their mastery of this highly technical, slightly proggy, Death/Thrash hybrid style should be obvious to even the most casual listener.