I always shudder a bit when I see a band referred to as “bestial” ….. it makes me think of muddy production masking shitty playing, impenetrable vocals, cover art of a nun / angel / vicar being sodomised by a monster and song titles like “Angelslutraper” (which may or may not be my Tinder handle).

This is my first exposure to Aussie quartet Cemetery Urn, the band formed in 2006 and this is their fourth album. After doing a bit of reading up, the word “bestial” was thrown about a fair bit by other (much more accomplished) writers. So my expectations were managed prior to pressing “play” but this is nine tracks of some seriously hefty shit.

“Victim Defiled” and “Ghost Of Suicide”open up procedings and there’s no messing about, this is heads down, dandruff distributing, barbaric death metal. The former a full on 4m28s blast and the second a more atmospheric track with some more measured, slower parts. Some of the most aggressive riffing I’ve heard this year is on this album which is enhanced no end by the unusually powerful production. This is some intense stuff and the album is aptly titled being downright vicious but with an atmosphere full of dread especially on tracks like the crushing “Down The Path Of The Dead” and “Manifesto Putrefactio”, the latter track having a hint of Hooded Menace about it. S. Geoffrey’s deep barking vocals absolutely reek of malice and suit the music perfectly.

Definitely worth a listen, for fans of Incantation & Bestial Warlust.

(7/10 Mark Eve)