What to say about Deathless Master the debut album from US death metallers Acephalix. It is singular in attack, sound, and intent, it is relatively unadventurous and it is unremarkable in changing the genre or thoughts of its followers, most of all it strikingly impressive and deeply satisfying. The album does nothing but stoke up the fires and passions that lurk in every dark recess of the heart and mind. It is a release that barely strays from its core and a blistering album uniformal in sound, quality, and enjoyment.
Out of San Francisco, Acephalix formed in 2007 with originally a crust punk surface to their death metal sounds. Taking influences such as the likes of Celtic Frost, Cro-Mags, Discharge, and Bolt Thrower to add to their ideas the band has evolved into what is bursting out from Deathless Master, a spiteful venomous old school tainted death metal band. Last year saw an upturn in attention their way with the bringing together of their two cassette demos in one limited edition CD called Interminable Night through Southern Lord. The 2,000 strong pressing sold out swiftly and brought them to the fore of underground metal. Shows in support of the release did them no harm either whilst their part in the Power of the Riff 2011 tour with the likes of Undergang, Black Breath, Winter, Noothgrush, Eyehategod, and Pentagram only increased the acclaim.
Again through Southern Lord, Deathless Master seals the full transformation of the band and their sound though there are still tones of their initial punk driven energies veining the tracks within. As heralding chords open up the album and starter Bastard Self and guitars blister the ear the sense of something powerful and vicious approaching is immediate. The track does not leave it long to bring confirmation as tumultuous riffs flatten all defences and the rhythms leave the ear quaking in the aftershock. The track is not a full on assault though, it is more premeditated and picks at the nerves with razor blade melodies and a groove to strangle all life it touches, and with the festering corruptive filth claiming to be vocals outstanding the track lays waste.
It is a staggering start from arguably one of the weaker songs on the album, if the word can be used in any context regarding a release this powerful and aggressive. Things do take a further upturn though with the following duo of the title track and Tomb Of Our Fathers. Deathless Master surges upon the senses like a rabid scourge, incessant and merciless it is a ravenous assault of thumping drums and malicious riffs. With a death knell ambience to the cleaner spoken vocals behind the full pit borne gutturals creations that lead, the track is a crushing pleasure. Tomb Of Our Fathers picks up where its predecessor left off, its raging rampage hypnotic and the caustic groove that follows in their wake vehement in intent and mesmeric effect. With an added solo which sears deep furrows within the senses it is an unstoppable joy.
Already one is aware that diversity is not the order of the day though each track offers something a little different to be numbed and violated by. Because the base and intensity of what the band does offer is so immense and gratifying it really is not an issue. Tracks like the outstanding On Wings and Raw Life just leave one a gleeful spent husk from their irrepressible consumption. The first of the two is a song staggeringly effective in simplicity of vocals and attack, its smothering fetid aural stench a contagion that reeks of malice and foul intentions. The latter is a mesmeric piece of putrefaction, its decomposing breath a smog of sonic evil. From an initial prowl and taunting air the song slowly shifts its muscular might into the expected charge that fuels each track but always it offers the tease of a respite to snatch it away with pure devilment.
Blood Of Desire, In Arms Of Nothing, and the great closer In Hunger ensure the album retains its high level from start to finish. The uniformal heart of the album means every second of the album is an incessant and very satisfying annihilation devoid of lulls. Obviously you have to have that level set at a high to make it work and Acephalix definitely achieve that. Like ordering eight slabs of quality steak for consecutive meals you know what you will get, there are no surprises, but it is a guaranteed feast of flavoursome and undeniably tasty pleasure each and every time. Deathless Master is the same, enjoy!