Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gorephilia - Embodiment of Death

If you have the slightest idea of what today’s old school death metal scene looks like, then you obviously know which influences plague and which trends are more pungent.  Incantation worship is a much popular fashion in the scene, and Gorephilia are yet another band displaying a crunchy brand of Incantation-esque old school death metal. Their 2011 Ep ‘’Ascend To Chaos'’ gave then some recognition and it set the base structure of their developing sound, but enter 2012, and their debut album ‘’Embodiment Of Death’’ is easily one of the most brutal old school death metal albums you’ve been acquainted with, and it’s easily more sophisticated than its predecessor, intensifying skull crushing heft with the ultimate eloquence. Perhaps the record does not entirely deviate from the norm, but it certainly erases the Incantation mark left in your ears from the previous release, proving to be both a deathlier and more cunning effort.

Well, it is a deal more brutal than the previous Ep, but it’s devoid of the ritualistic mysticism laden in the early Incantation albums, and there’s little room for passionate, dark instrumentation and spectral aura, as the muscular power is widely preferred an element on this record. The cadaverous, macabre approach of death metal is always a treat for me, and I like it even more when its doused with a pinch of looming and a dash of brawny prowess fit for certain sequences, but on ‘’Embodiment Of Death’’, the brooding, abysmal overtone is nearly gone, and instead, the riffs are dominated by an ominous tide, and are fuelled with constant energy and husky power, save for some doom laden sections which embrace the gloom n’ doom myth slightly more than their peers. This approach may put off listeners who seek atmosphere and perilous evil, hinted amongst the riffs, but fans that enjoy the stomping charge and fury of death metal will still appreciate this, and maybe even love it with as they are surrounded by the album’s spray of suffocating gas, teeming with density.

Incantation still reigns as the most dominant influence on this record as far as I can see, but I can also sense riffs that reek of Asphyx, Cianide and even early Morbid Angel and Immolation. Songs which puff up and turn into formidable yet ponderous bulks like ‘’Gods Stand Aghast’’ are easily influenced more by the likes of Asphyx, inserting tons of heft and crushing chugs into the mid paced death metal texture, engrossing it with simple, yet maiming chomps. It’s not exactly doom, but it’s still relatively more sluggish, intensified with speed only in certain passages wherein thin wisps of tremolo pickings descend in a forlorn fashion. Other tracks like ‘’Pantheon In Flames’’ or ‘’Forget Mortality’’ are frankly more spacious and brisk, and the two minute supercharged riff exploitation ‘’Bloodspawn’’ is as simple and quick as a grindcore song, only a deal heavier and more callous. With the guitar tone favouring massiveness and airy heft over darkened vagueness or thinner, more metallic touches, it can actually be a problem to hear the vocals properly because they’re muffled and far too cavernous to make a direct impact on the listener.

I don’t have many complaints about this record, but some more originality would certainly be good. Gorephilia have only embroidered their riffs with vague melodies and tremolos, and with little deviation from the path that has been set, the album sometimes sounds dull and not as efficient as you’d hope it to be, even though its full force assault is a crushing one. With some more atmosphere, and ore variation, the band can expand their style to one that’s less muscular and more spectral (which is the path that they should take), and this record is far from bad, but, I was slightly disappointed only by some of its subtle nuances. 

Pantheon In Flames
Vision Of Hell
Gods Stand Aghast

Final Rating
4.3/5 or 86%

Originally written for Lacerated Metal Zine