Formed in 1998, originally as a black metal band, Crescent are one of the oldest extreme metal bands hailing from the country which inspired the technically gifted, but boring as fuck American death metal band Nile. Being the only Egyptian metal group to tour in Western and Central Europe, along with ranking in the top 10 at Wacken Open Air 2014’s prestigious Metal Battle, the group have clearly staked their claim as a highly influential group both at home and overseas. With 2014’s ‘Pyramid Slaves’ being their debut full length, “The Order Of Amenti” signals the band’s intent to make 2018 a year to remember.
Now as mentioned above, Crescent hail from the country which Nile have plundered for material much like Howard Carter and his band of grave robbers did to the tombs in the Valley Of The Kings. This unfortunately means that the instant comparisons to Nile are like a massive neon sign for Crescent, which is a shame, because Crescent actually are interesting (to me anyway). Sure, Nile might have that legendary status and have some cracking tracks in their discography (Winds Of Horus, Unas Slayer Of Gods, Black Seeds Of Vengence to name a few) but they are really dull once you hear them a fair few times and live, well, they’re not very entertaining. Crescent on the other hand managed to maintain my interest. Whereas Nile have their cultural quirks in each track, with Crescent the ‘exotic’ elements to the tracks actually come across as organic as opposed to very artificially delivered like with Nile. With this, you could liken them well to Melechesh , Crescent’s Israeli extreme metal neighbours. Again, it feels unfair to compare the bands but again, when playing music which comes from or is inspired by this region of the world and its culture, the comparisons are going to be there.
Exposition rant aside, “The Order Of Amenti” is a hard hitting release. 8 tracks, 7 of which average out round the 7 minute mark make this something for the dedicated death metal fan, this is not a release you can casually listen to. It is something you have to focus on because there is so much going on in each song, to only half focus on it is a crime. From the ambient synth effects and samples (big brass ensembles, howling winds, crackling fires) to the flair-laden exotic sounding melodies to the punishing technical death metal, it all comes together superbly. Cascades of blastbeats, buzzing guitar riffs, colossal low end bass rumblings and harshly growled, snarled and screamed vocals litter the tracks and the precision and delivery of each musical component is wonderful. From the opening blasts of “Reciting Spells To Mutilate Apophis” to the more primal natured “Obscuring The Light” to the hugely atmospheric and epic feeling “Beyond The Path Of Amenti”, there is no stone left unturned in the variety of blackened death metal styles sound spectrum. Drawback wise, “The Order Of Amenti” suffers from that extreme focus required to listen to it, along with the track length. There isn’t much breathing space as everything is flat out, fast paced and furiously delivered. There is also the gripe at the mixing level – the blastbeats really do overpower everything else at times making it hard to hear those exotic melodies or rumbling drone like refrains.
Other than that, well it’s a great release and well worth a listen if you like your Death Metal with a bit of a kick to it.