Four years ago we premiered a song from At the Onset of Extinction, the eye-opening second EP of the inventive Finnish death metal band Sepulchral Curse (which includes members of Solothus and Yawning Void). We must not have screwed that up too badly because we’ve been invited again to host a Sepulchral Curse song premiere, this time from their debut album Only Ashes Remain, which is set for a July 31 release by Transcending Obscurity Records.
This is an album we’ve been eagerly awaiting, given the striking impression created by that previous EP, which was the band’s second release. If you’ve had your eyes and ears open, you’ve already discovered some of the fascinations in this band’s unusual amalgamation of stylistic ingredients, through track premieres at Decibel and T.O.‘s YouTube channel. And the one we’re presenting today, “Church of Loss“, is no less viscerally electrifying, mentally engrossing, and emotionally powerful.
As “Church of Loss” again proves, what sets Sepulchral Curse apart is their songcraft — though that compliment is not intended to take anything away from the high level of performance skill displayed by the band members (drummer/vocalist Tommi Ilmanen, vocalist Kari Kankaanpää, guitarists Jaakko Riihimäki and Aleksi Luukka, and bassist Niilas Nissilä), which really is impressive. But their ability to intertwine so many changing ingredients in such coherent and compelling fashion stands out.
This new song, for example, begins in utterly dismal, diseased, and doomed fashion, and then takes the core of that bleak opening riff and mutates it into increasingly desperate and demented sensations. As the drummer hammers and the bassist pounds, the guitars calamitously boil and seethe and the vocalists bellow like an enraged leviathan and shriek in a semblance of self-immolation. As the pacing hurtles, the intensity of the tremolo’d riffing becomes a shattering harmony.
The rapidly rippling leads that comes to the fore as the music’s frantic pace subsides are stricken to the point of feverish hopelessness, and the grand chords that sweep across the battering percussion are oppressive and monumentally tragic, just as the mind-lacerating screams seem to be the sound of a soul tearing itself to shreds.
As usual, Transcending Obscurity will release the album in a variety of tantalizing formats, along with merch that makes good use of the album’s stunning cover art (by Alex Tartsus), and it’s all available for pre-order now.