EmbryoThis is the third album from this Italian death metal outfit which has had Francesco Paoli from Fleshgod Apocalypse playing drums. Said Italian band is a good reference point for this one as they bombard the listener with a wholesome symphonic metal approach that is brutal yet entrenched in grandiose finesse. The sound is huge when “An Awkward Attempt” starts the album, it assails the listener in waves of sonic power as the vocals are ultra low growls but fit the song structures superbly well when you are being deluged by avalanches of such musicality. The music is ambitious and often this style of death metal falls flat as the songs become too complicated and end up sounding messy and lacking direction and fluidity which this does not I’m pleased to say.

As the album hits the second tune, “The Pursuit Of Silence”, the keyboard adornments are excellent and create a sci-fi like atmosphere similar to Xerath and The Project Hate MCMXCIX. I’d even say some of the songs have an influence of Devin Townsend, that progressive angle and approach that makes his music so bewildering at times. The keyboard start to “Insane Lucidity” has a cinematic feel, building nicely with various effects and a sonic dystopian atmosphere before the metal aspect politely announces itself and some screamed vocals being spat at the listener. The switch in pace within the song is excellent, totally unexpected and makes the song a great listen. The band centres its songs on catchy riffs that bounce along in djent like fashion at times but without the chuggery aspect those bands deploy for their music throughout. The title track offers a different approach with manic vocals and keyboards taking over after the noise effects at the start. Adventurous and unafraid to test the boundaries of death metal the song is teeming with ideas and stands slightly above the other songs for being that bit different. The electronic start of “The Door To The Abyss” has a core like riff to start it, djent slightly the song is beastly but very accessible as the vocals pour growling scorn out of the speakers along with the razor barbed screams.

There is a metalcore touch to the riff of “My Pounding Void” before a blast snare takes over and rockets the pace upwards, before reining the speed in for more catchy riff thuggery and again the keyboards decorate the song with textural finesse despite the aggressiveness of the riffing and drum work. Ending the album brilliantly is “I Am Pure Hate” (a back of a T-shirt slogan if ever there was) that starts slowly but erupts like a firestorm of blasting mania and vocal vitriol exuding from the speakers. The tune is probably the most violent on the album but still adorned with keyboards like they are attempting to calm the rabid riffs and pummelling drums. This is a great album of symphonic death metal, a bold step to test accepted norms the release will engage you from start to finish.

(8.5/10 Martin Harris)