Ah, ok. Well first this is a super bit of packaging; excellent cover art and real attention to the internal art/layout too which is a) always nice to see and b) a good sign of intent.
If like me you were unaware, Eskhaton are and Aussie three piece, from Melbourne, and they’ve been around since 2011 and this is their third full length. Not heard any of the rest but you assume by this time they have solidified sound and direction into what they want to go with. So what have they done with it?
Made a right fucking racket. Which is of course A Very Good Thing.
From the beginning, the unpronounceable ‘Relic Of Mictlantecuhtli’, we are flung into a furious blender. This is death metal on the edge of grindspeed. It is also a chaotic thrashing whirlwind of carnage. I guess you could take certain aspects of early Portal without those inside out riffs, Impetuous Ritual and Detrimentum maybe and squeeze them into a lift with some early Nile and drop the lot down a lift shaft. It’s also utterly relentless in the assault it dishes out. Wave after wave of riffs hammering over you, almost entirely unbroken and without remorse. Occasional shivers of a more atmospheric riffs push through which while not exactly melody are light and shade to the nuclear chaos raging away here. It’s a good production for this kind of thing too – not too muddy but a million miles away from some technical polish which would have stripped out too many of its wild teeth.
It’s totally committed, but is it any good? Well yes. Yes it is. There is a lot thrashing and churning away under the bludgeoning surface, a really together unit that are lashed into one overwhelming force. It has a sense of itself, a crashing, crushing identity and when the slightly more atmospheric bits surface of really pulls at and holds your attention.
There are a couple of things that make it difficult though. I mean this level of assault is exhausting to experience and with an album over fifty minutes long they are really pushing it. Fourteen tracks, even if a couple are around a minute, is probably three or four too many for me. You end up punch drunk and find it difficult to hang on to the ropes. It’s probably against their ethos but I do wonder if a little more rhythmic variation, even the odd more twist on the pace downwards might add a little more shade without counting the attack. However there is variation here anyway, and good variation at that.
But, still, this is what it is: Fast, utterly furious carnage and on tracks like ‘Culthulunatic’ where the riffs are borderline brilliant and varied they are exceptional. If unrelenting, brutal grinding death metal is your thing this is probably essential.
It won’t leave you with any unbroken bones, but being pulverized rarely gets much better.