I’ve never heard any of Escarnium’s previous material but that is gonna change after living with this album for a while.
Forming in 2008, the Brazilian quartet has only released one previous album and a couple of EPs and splits. ‘Interitus’ captured me straight away with the albums opening sample from ‘Apocalypse Now’. That movie is in my top 5 films of all time (Along with ‘The Thing’, ‘Jaws’, ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ and ‘High School Musical’). As soon as Brando stops we’re off with ‘While The Furnace Burns’. Apt title as this track is a blistering and relentless death metal assault. Driving metronomic drums, bestial yet intelligible vocals and some dark, rotten riffing.
Next up is the cheerfully titled ‘Starvation Death Process’ (the band has obviously been to my in laws for dinner). This song has a really familiar vibe to it as the band settle into their groove. That groove is oppressive and sinister.
Escarnium are clearly about more than just speed and technicality although the boys can certainly play – Nestor Carrera’s drumming and the twin lead work of Victor Elian & Mauricio Souza is just….. I was gonna type ‘joyful’….but that would sound wank, so how about ‘beautifully vicious’ instead? Escarnium have mastered the art of creating a wonderfully oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere in their song writing while maintaining a degree of speed and savagery that only bands such as Immolation and Incantation can equal. In fact those two bands as well as a hint of early Swedish death metal appear to be strong influence on these Brazilians and their sonic brutality is brought out of your speakers perfectly courtesy of a really in your face mix credited to John Bart Van Der Wal (ex- Aborted) and the Dutchman clearly knows what he’s doing.
There’s a certain amount of creepy melody to most of the songs which doesn’t detract from the intensity one bit, in fact quite the opposite. ‘100 Days Of Blood’, a song about the Rwandan genocide, is a perfect example of this. Fast, precise thrashy riffing with some insanely tight drum work but with a hint of melody that you don’t get with a lot of bands in this genre. Great solos too.
I would say that any fan of death metal would really enjoy this album. Nothing revolutionary, just a band playing what they love and doing it exceedingly well. Great morbid cover art by Hugo Silva too.
Oh, and if you were wondering ‘Interitus’ is a Latin word which means ‘to ruin; violent/untimely death/extinction’
(8.5/10 Mark Eve)