Monday, July 29, 2013

Ævangelist - De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis (2012)

Full Length, Debemur Morti Productions
October 16th, 2012

Genre: Black/Death Metal/Industrial
Region: USA

From the minds responsible for Benighted In Sodom, the duo known as Ævangelist have created De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis a unique and sinister hallucinogenic death-cloud. I thought it would be in your interest in knowing, listening to the machinations recorded here.

Actually I’m pretty late on it myself and these guys have been busy, releasing Nightmare Flesh Offering a new 7” in the last few months, To the Dream Plateau of Hideous Revelation a new split with Esoterica soon (their side is already available), and their new LP Omen Ex Simulacra in the works already — evidence below:

Yes Cthulhu, yes H. P. Lovecraft, and you can bet that title and the lyrical themes revolve around the man’s work and influences to some degree. This is all a plus for those interested but it is used quite a bit, and doesn’t do a whole lot for me usually — however Ævangelist’s wear it very well and in an original way. There's more at work than just this thematic influence so let’s get to this record’s other aspects which are also fantastic.

The cover art depicts a tentacle-web of ancient horror, deformity, death, etc. and that’s pretty much what this duo have constructed here, specifically through emphasis on atmospherics: digital, symphonic, this all feeds into the foreboding quasi-angelic haze suffocating every square inch of this tomb. The production adds to the static, crunchy tone that permeates the record.

None of this is surprising to those enjoy the previous projects both members have been involved in, though this new formation is evidence that they have more intriguing insights into the void of death from these two.

Buried under the sheer weight of the terror and horror is a repugnant plume of death metal with certain black metal influences (cue the eye-rolling) that strangles the listener slowly. When those influences are strongest it more often sounds like Darkspace through Wormed (terrible analogy), and overall I would say this record leans a little more to the side of death metal than anything else even with the huge emphasis on atmosphere.

In fact their unique breed of pestilence is strewn liberally throughout this record but again never without being accompanied by negative illumination and sour flows of the dark symphonies you hear on the first track; which is the only one which indulges in stretching that atmosphere as long as it does.

Out of the box an eerie sample greets us on “Anno mortii : Gnostic Transcendental Heresy”, something I’d describe as an industrial terror-dimension themed soundscape that drifts from the rough and cybernetic, then to cathedral and ghoulishly angelic patches of undulating sound-craft. This is different than one may expect, far more tech/machine driven rather than fleshy or organic as the cover suggests. Supernatural for sure.

This purgatory extends becoming all the more cavernous and the atmosphere is certainly foreboding and rich, and it is interrupted by a death and black metal siege: malformed tremolo frenzies eventually give way to a swaying rhythm that dominates the track. A wall of distorted fear tearing through the atmosphere, a stream of psychotic and indecipherable roars, strangled and muffled growls no doubt relaying some kind of primordial curse.

Vocals are sick and varied if not very out of the ordinary and get a little muddled in the conjuring noises but that may just be the hypnosis working. They do contribute to the frightening haze though. This is a track, the longest, where all the ingredients Ævangelist deal in are at their most reactive and expansive. They opt for different combinations later as you’ll notice.

While the similarities with recent aberrations of the genre are easy to spot the structure overall are less complex in technical structure than say Mitochondrion in the guitar/drum arena, and not as amorphous as Portal’s. Ævangelist craft these and other influences into new forms unlike their peers, they have their own approach and it's effective. While there’s still there’s a strong tradition of crawling, often thicker-than-expected riffs the key is in repetition, swirling, and this builds alongside those aforementioned elements (usually slow to mid paced

This is definitely not to say this doesn’t get pretty complex and full at times, the opening track for example, but this more so to do with a convergence of well crafted industrial “noise” or symphonic atmosphere with these other aspects than more twisted riffs and fast drumming.

Look to “The Longevity of Second Death” for example of reliance on repetitive blows while simultaneously poisoning through atmosphere: we’re treated to a huge and spellbinding set of slow, swaying rhythms which saturated the majority of the track, over those fearsome snarls and floating symphonic ether that erode sanity from all angles.

Even at it’s most simple they resonate strongly, and the nightmare ethereality never parts from the earth-chewing death metal. Take the three shortest, most straightforward tracks “Pendulum”, “Funeral Monolith”, and "Blood & Darkness” where those influences are strongest.

“Pendulum” shows a better balance compared to the opener and an example of how well it works. As chunky and dissonant rhythms plow through the six minutes the droning cavalry wails like nuclear war sirens. These wails contaminate and adhere to everything despite the continuous and belligerent hammering from the other instruments, on a more traditional and deliberate path. There’s some pleasing moments here.

“Funeral Monolith” is similar in this respect, and more easily grasped. The passages are more well lit and decipherable, chunkier and death metal oriented — but it does not relent in its darkness, horror-drone atmospherics clouding the deluge of death beneath.

The occasional rise to the fore of eerie feedback between the both meaty rhythms and twangy sustained discord is perfect, like an orbiting entity affecting everything it comes close to. It morphs and modulated beneath as well as if it were being held under a liquid often alongside the vocals.

This track and the chaotic forerunner to it “Death Illumination”, which really flattens shit in it’s wake, are stand outs for me, though it’s a record where there’s very few weak points and all tracks stand like pillars.

So, what could sometimes seem like a concept that could easily get messy and confused, or even boring if not approached with skill or passion Matron Thorn and Ascaris show to be a worth while exploration in horror and metal. They’ve been thorough. De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis is organized thoughtfully and Ævangelist’s creative output on this record is impressive. Like some kind of inverted, crippled Lykathea Aflame.

There’s one instrumental, “Hierophant Disposal Facility”, and it is staggering with again a much more industrial-ethereal-horror, percussion and bass emphasis at first which entrances no less easily, and eventually bringing the guitars in for the later grooves — slowly twisting and bending over nine minutes in order to deconstructing you spiritually.

Even after being dimensionally raped over the course of this journey, the finale will still surprise you, especially on it’s immediate front with clean flanged-out progressions and bouts of instrumental reflection. “Crematorium Angelicum”fells like it was produced differently, thinner. Regardless it transforms quite a bit over these final nine minutes, going from some kind of bizarre Pantera - Planet Caravans cover to a very Darkspace-esque tone by the time we approach the middle, back again with heavier delay effects, and into a descent.

Chalk another up to the growing “awesome records that I missed last year” list. I wish I had been more attentive because De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis displays how ugly and ferocious new breeds of this genre are becoming. It’s a creaking monster of the trans-dimensional depths. If you’ve fucked up like me and didn’t get to it last year then seriously buckle down and dedicate an hour to this. Fans of Antediluvian, Portal, Mitochondrion, Darkspace — anything like that, you should give this a glance.

Pick up a copy of it if you can. Head over to Debemur Morti Productions' webshop to do just that and follow them elsewhere to keep up with their progress. I’m certainly eagerly awaiting their next record and really want to hear the split and EP once I get the chance.

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