Tetragrammaton, the last full length from these Dutch chaps changed the way I looked at Death Metal. Their bombastic approach and use of a cinematic feel, coupled with Optimus Prime (not a Transformers geek at all but the guy has a great tone) and great use of samples blew me away. I was lucky enough to catch them live which cemented my love for Svpreme Avant Garde Death Metal.
Bloodcvlts had a lot to live up to. Opener “Reign In Hell” gets things going the right way – sirens and ominous riffs then brass bombast. This is no run of the mill DM E.P. . The quick descent into blasting that follows shocks me at first. Luckily this is soon followed by freaked out space effects and TMD’s trademark industrial marching groove.
The Monolith Death Cult like to create atmosphere – often with a cinematic bent, and the tracks have layers and textures that I do not normally recognise in much death metal. Multi-instrumentalist Carsten Altena puts his various talents to use with the synth sounds appearing, in turn organic and starkly mechanical to conjure up the desired effect.
This E.P has more of a nod to the greats of Death Metal than Tetregrammaton. A flurry of Schuldiner lead, a Nile section and the decaying scab from modern Cannibal Corpse all add into the maelstrom. There is less of an industrial tinge to this EP with the band not choosing to continue the feel of the last full length and continue the Peter Cullen link. “Conquistadors” and “Der HExenhammer” are pedal to the metal blasters – albeit done the Deathcult way. “Doom of the Tawuse Melek” offers some string laden choruses alongside a tale of the Yazidi fallen angel believed by followers of Islam to be Satan but revered in the Yazidi faith. The fact that prior to listening to this EP I had never heard of Yazidi proves that every day is indeed a school day especially when listening to this lot.
“Hangmen Also Die” gallops along at a fare old pace with some Black Metal rasps from Guitarist Michiel Dekker added on top of Robin Kok’s usual deep guttural vocal line.
GeneSYS is a weak point for me. A ferocious death metal song for sure, but there is not enough going on it for me to grip the nether regions. It sounds a little Deicide – which for many is a great thing but sends me for the skip button.
Then ……..like the cavalry wielding baseball bats with nails in them “Die Waffe Mensch RMX” thunders over the hill and out of my speakers. Industrial craziness reminiscent of G.U.T or even CombiChrist. Pure heavy EBM I am looking for something that glows to hold in my teeth. This is the curveball that this EP needed. The same dark threat. The same overbearing shadow of monstrosity but hewn from different sonic cloth. One for the Electrowerkz crowd rather than the kids in the cult of Benton. These guys know how to write a decent Darkwave raver!
So, we come to the end. “Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning” starts with an acoustic riff and Viking style chanted vocals. This is a version of sorts of the final track of the same name from 2008’s Triumvarate. The chorus is the same but the verse appears different. The story continues?
The style is completely different. Where track that appears on Triumvirate thunders along mixing blastbeats and growled vocals with operatic clean singing the modern incarnation offers a far more earthy, camp fire drinking song. It is all the better for it! The track features double bass, hypnotic choruses and has a deliciously dreamy folk feel. What could have been a good but not great release for this wannabe deathculter is transformed with the injection of different ideas at the tail end. I look forward to the next full length knowing that, despite being stripped down to a three piece, these Dutch masters still got the chops.
(7.5/10 Matt Mason)