When you delve into death metal through the decades within the specific scenes around the world you find that each part of the world has its own take on the style and one area that has always really caught my attention is Finland, it has tended not to get the attention its other Scandinavian compatriot Sweden has been afforded over the years for some reason. However the Finnish death metal has offered something far more sinister, more punishing, delivering albums that have been just that more terrifying and Sepulchral Curse can be firmly added to that list with their first full length that follows a couple of EPs released in 2014 and 2016.
The Finns have taken everything that is gruesomely effective about their scene and infused it with a modernity without dilution, introducing intricacy without loss of power to create an album that oozes malevolence and pours scorn onto earth with consummate hostility. With the perfect title to open an album, ‘From Within The Bowels Of The Earth’ it literally tears the listener to shreds with an abruptness that is shockingly effective, the blackened tinge to the riffing infests the track to enhance the songs malicious traits exponentially as all this is set against a backdrop of catchiness courtesy of the thrash like riff toning that I detected.
I love the density of this album, it is wholly enveloping, encasing you, crushing the life out of you with each second on ‘Swarming Blackness’ as the varying vocal styles inject their own levels of malfeasance from screeching charisma to guttural groove. ‘Eyes Inside’ increases the song duration with an eeriness lingering in the opening sequence that creeps upon you, that sense of drama during the build-up as it worms its way via the guitar hook and steadily increasing intensity. As the double kick ramps up the power the vocals switch into a harshness that signal the increase in pace; everything is purposefully placed, as the pace takes another change into a sluggish dirge with devastating results.
Bone-grinding and funereal can only describe the aura surrounding ‘Church Of Loss’ on its opening piece before the exceptional speed detonation. The way the song just explodes into horrific life is rampaging as the song unveils a superb riff break and ultra-clear blast beat that I particularly liked as the album concludes with the colossal epic ‘Maan Tuhkien Uneen’. Spanning the eleven minute mark the song is expansive as expected, leading off with a deep bass intro piece and drums that hints at doom-death credentials. Whilst not quite funereal you get the suggestion that the mood is despondent, grief laden to the point of anguish driven as the pace slithers along before the very cool switch and slight increase in tempo which is very subtle indeed. The song is asphyxiating in its atmosphere, cloying to some extent with the pace retaining a crawl as the lead work breaks into the track with total grace in stark contrast to the impenetrably low vocals that permeate the song.
Those into the grisly more horrifying death metal, seeded with a blackened edge should look no further than Sepulchral Curse whose sole purpose is to corrupt this planet with their toxic debut that fans of Demigod, Sulphur Aeon, Lantern, Incantation… I’m sure you get the idea, would certainly enjoy.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)