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Tuesday 20 June 2023

Reviews: Creeping Death, Imperishable, Fleshbound, Endeavour (Reviews By Matt Bladen & GC)

Creeping Death – Boundless Domain (MNRK Heavy) [Matt Bladen] 

Yeah…ok…believe the hype. Boundless Domain could be the death metal album of the year. The Texan band have nailed how to keep the OSDM sound fresh in 2023, harking back to groove driven aggression of Brits such as Bolt Thrower, Benediction and fellow Americans like Obituary or Morbid Angel but also keeping the technical potency that is the norm in modern death metal music. Armed with a trio of EP’s and debut full length Boundless Domain has a pretty good provenance to stand on but manages to above and beyond any previous release from the band. 

The title track sets the scene with a bit of atmosphere and a heavy chug before first single Intestinal Wrap adds changing time signatures, loud/quiet dynamics, some fret slides, a blistering solo section and George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fischer on guest grunts. From here the speed and technicality increases on single Vitrified Earth, Lincoln Mullins’ drums giving me blisters just listening to it as he controls the pace of the track with double kicks and battering stomps, the middle section with some explosive Slayer-like dive bomb solos. 

The virtuosity on display is so impressive, with guitarists Trey Pemberton and A.J. Ross III throwing out as many riffs as they can in each song, (the Morbid Angel method) be they thrashier like on The Parthian Shot, which has some fancy percussive flourishes from Mullins, or the slower bone crushers like Creators Turned Into Prey which moves from leisurely to frenzy in a moment, Eric “Rico” Mejia’s bass adding fat mud kicking basslines under the varied solo sections. 

His link with Mullins drumming means that tracks such as Cursed even bring a crossover feel, paying tribute to Riley Gale (Power Trip) and Wade Allison (Iron Age) two icons of the Texan scene, vocalist Reese Alavi’s performance scintillating throughout the album, his guttural roars as technically gifted as the ever changing riffs behind him. 

Produced by Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, Boundless Domain is the future of death metal, no doubt about it, with mechanical aggression, progressive song structures and the ability to incorporates some psychedelic soundscapes on Remnants Of The Old Gods, Creeping Death will be primed to obliterate a venue near you soon, be ready! 9/10

Imperishable – Come, Sweet Death (Hammerheart Records) [Matt Bladen]

When you compare yourself to Swedish death metal legends Dismember you’ve got to be able to back it up, so I’m thankful that this isn’t misplaced optimism and that Imperishable, which features ex members of ex-members from Vampire, Portrait, Nominon and Dr. Living Dead have successfully walked the Left Hand Path with Come, Sweet Death. It’s 39 minutes of Stockholm scene Swedeath, buzzsaw HM-2 riffs and blast beats galore it’s very much a tribute to Dismember and Entombed but with enough of their own influence to separate them from the literal thousands of bands playing this type of metal, with this type of guitar tone. 

Born from thrash (Infernal Lust) but a damn sight nastier Swedish death metal is in a genre all of its own, so Imperishable fit into that style brilliantly unleashing riff after savage riff but utilising the melodic, harmonic cleans and leads of the Gothenberg Melodeath sound. What’s striking is that Come, Sweet Death is a debut album, the band’s first full length and they come out swinging like they have 5 albums behind them. From the grind of The Perennial Desire, the blackened battery of The Phantasm, through to the longer (I mean 4 minutes is long) assaults such as Teeth Of The Hydra where they pack in riffs on top of riffs or the nearly 5 minute Fangs which starts off with some heavy doom (with a HM-2 fuzz) before ripping your face off again. A brief intro sets the atmosphere as the title track closes out the record. 

You get a feast of Swedish death metal but importantly, it leaves you hungry for more. Like a very satisfying snack you’ll want again and again, Come, Sweet Death is a feast of Swedish death metal that lives up to its lofty ambitions. 8/10

Fleshbound - Wounded (Self Released) [GC]

Describing themselves as Deathcore from the dirty south I was always going to review this! If there are 2 styles of music you could describe me with its death metal and hardcore, so when the 2 are mixed it usually makes me very happy boy! Let’s hope Fleshbound’s new EP Wounded can be one of those mixes that hits the spot!

Firing straight out of the blocks with Bathed In The Rays Of Gold you instantly get the death metal influence and it’s a scathing blackened style just for good measure, with some savage beatdown drumming included and then a nice choppy and stop start rhythm into the verse and just before I think, where the hardcore influence it’s there with a beautiful and section that makes me want to start ninja dancing and windmilling around the room this is a beauty of an opener. 

Entity 6 continues on with the blackened death metal influence and the drumming is again almost inhuman in places and they even manage to throw in some atmosphere with a minimal a guitar sound in places that mixes up everything but overall its another thrilling song that just keeps on giving and giving and is always interesting, as sometimes you can get a bit lost in the mixing of styles but not here everything is pulled of brilliantly.

Terminal Lucidity doesn’t let up any of the death metal savagery that has been the hallmark of the songs so far, the guitars slice and cut, the drums are slamming and thunderous and the vocals are the best on the EP and you just have to admire a band that just aims to full on attack you and not let you have one minute of comfort and actually pull it off because sometimes you kind of just think yeah, ok lads your heavy but what’s the point? 

Here you feel the conviction behind everything that is thrown in your direction and already I’m at the end of the EP and closer The Night Engulfs Our Hearts In Flames is easily the most measured song on the EP and it builds a tension right form the beginning with a more slowed pace and a brooding guitar sound and the whole song has a menacing aura all the way and manages to control the chaos within beautifully.

And just like that its over! What was on offer here was great, there wasn’t much to get my teeth into and my overwhelming feeling is it is actually really more blackened/slam death metal then straight up metalcore as I didn’t get very much of a hardcore feel that often, which is shame but not to take anything away for what I have just heard which was an absolute savage death metal assault and it was a hell of a ride! Well worth checking out! 7/10

Endeavour - For The Time Being (Self Released) [GC]

From a quick read of their press release it seems Endeavour are expected to do big things this year, it describes their debut album For The Time Being as monstrous and their lead single as killer and they are apparently poised to claim a stake as one of the bands to watch this year? Big words, but can they back all this hype up with their music?

Definite is a bit of an unconvincing opening statement it floats in on a vocal line with minimal guitars that then is mixed into some of the most generic and bland metalcore I have ever heard and then to make things worse midway it drops back into the vocal/electronics only bit to try and keep us guessing or something? But it doesn’t it just annoys me and the end of the song is just as boringly predictable, Blur fares slightly better and has a passable riff to open up but then does the quiet vocals and electronics only stuff again and is just so boring and when the main riff comes back in it does nothing to save the song and the whole thing just sounds so bland and cookie cutter that you are just glad when it all ends. 

You then hope that Black Box might finally do something interesting but it doesn’t, it sticks to the exact same formula, quiet vocals and meandering electronics before attempting to spring into life with a verse or two of angry shouty stuff then, cut, copy, paste and repeat until end of song? It’s all just so mind numbingly predictable and uninspiring, sigh.

We now get to the ‘’angry’’ song on this album; Aimless and it almost starts off ok for the first minute but then of course they insist on attempting a big singalong chorus and it’s just a complete miss, it felt like they might actually be able to drop the formula for a bit but no, it’s right there as it always is, I skipped past the last 30 seconds of the song as I was so sick of it, Colourblind makes me just want to stop the review instantly because there is nothing here that is any different in anyway shape or form, I get it you have a style, sure ok but at least make it interesting please! I seriously can’t see how this is going to do ‘’big things’’ as expected? Its going to do no things.

I can’t even imagine that it would sound better live as I would have been back at the bar by now having been bored to tears. Sober undoubtedly has a deep meaningful back story and if the rest of the album hadn’t been so utterly boring already then this might have been a good way to mix everything up but it just all feels like it’s been one long slow boring track, it is probably the best song on here but that’s not really difficult at this point. Breathe feels and ultimately sounds like a half decent nu-metal track and again is probably one of the better songs on here and that is really saying something!

127 now actually makes me think, hang on this isn’t actually a metalcore album at all, its clearly one of those nu-metal revival type bands because if this is trying to be metalcore its failed miserably, it doesn’t make up for the utter shit I have had to listen to but it makes sense a bit more all the quiet/loud dynamics and electronic are so nu-metal its painful, I had to check my calendar and make sure it was 2023 not 2003 so now thankfully For The Time Being is the last song on the album and they haven’t saved the best till last either more bland uninspiring stuff. Album over, good.

It is a resounding no from me! This was boring and had no redeeming features, sure there were a couple of half decent songs and an alright riff here and there but that is not enough over a full album to get a good review. If I was in Endeavour, I would go and re-think what our aim was because surely it cannot be to release music so boring you would rather listen to old nu-metal albums to compare them and ultimately prefer them? I didn’t like this album very much at all. 3/10

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