Facticity, the debut album from German progressive death metalers Over Your Threshold, is one of those intricate little beasts which need multiple ventures in its company to appreciate and discover all of its aural nooks and sonic crannies. It is a striking and adventurous release to occupy the senses with accomplished skill and strong invention. Personally it did not admittedly ignite a frenzy of adoration but without doubt made the hours in its company compulsive, refreshing, and ultimately rewarding.
Over Your Threshold was formed in 2006 by guitarists Lukas Spielberger and Leonhard P. With drummer Julian Matejka joining the following year the band started drawing attention with their live shows which saw them support the likes of Obscura, Deadborn and Hokum locally. Their self released debut EP Progress In Disbelief caught many an imagination in 2008 as the progressive infused death metal the band was exploring found more eager recipients. With bassist Christian Siegmund having joined in 2009, the quartet entered the studio in 2011 to record Facticity. The result a release which is a technical and aggressive storm which finds an equal balance to bruise and light up the ear with ease. With the added guest skills of Steffen Kummerer (Obscura, Thulcandra) and Jonas ‘JoeC’ Fischer (Hokum, Ex-Obscura) bringing their own craft to the album, it is a release of enterprise and passion. Since its recording Leonhard P has left the band to be replaced by guitarist Kilian Lau and new vocalist Ludwig Walter.
Released through Metal Blade Records, the album goes for the throat from the off with opener Cortical Blindness and its synapse juggling manipulations and ear plundering riffs. The track mesmerises and disorientates masterfully and though it emerges as not the heaviest assault to appear on the album, it is a challenging and satisfying introduction. The guitars and rhythms instigate whiplash at times but also ‘croon’ the senses into a gratified state with their blend of pace, energy, and intrigue. Immediately the song also reveals the stunning invention of bassist Seigmund. His fretless bass, additive lines and obvious skill a hypnotic conjuration, the work of a bedlam spawn predator with fine control and even deeper imagination.
The following Contextual Fluctuating and Obscure Mind Stasis bring darker shadows with their presence. The first is a blackened consumption which within its dazzling melodic weaves, has a menacing and corruptive heart. The second song has an even more malevolent breath to unsettle and taunt the ear but again the melodic soundscape of ideas and guitar is a flourishing shaft of warmth permeating the dark corners. The drums alongside the bass are ominous and commanding, framing all the impressive invention within their muscular arms tightly. It is a magnificent track which steals top honours, just.
As tracks like Self Exhibition, Body Part Illusion, and Antic, descend and feast the ear with excellent musicianship and unmistakable invention, Facticity only pleases more and more. There is never a moment one can sit back and just immerse within a song as there is so much going on, though never to excess. This means as mentioned earlier, many returns to the release are needed to fully grasp its wealth, the continued effort though always enjoyable and rewarding. The third of this trio of tracks is another exceptional song which lights up the air with its electric contagion. It offers the most intensity and threat to be found on the release, its heart snarling at the senses with a vicious hunger. As ever though, the melodic and startling progressive play is rife and magnetic within the sprawling oppressive weight.
Over Your Threshold have created an album which is immensely impressive and gratifying, though as mentioned for some reason it did not fire up enough passion to elevate it the highest plateaus of acclaim. But as that well used line goes, Facticity, it is not you it is me.
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