Echidna – Dawn Of The Sociopath

Following up their acclaimed 2008 debut Insidious Awakening, Portuguese thrash/death metalers Echidna return with a new vocalist in Bruno Capela (ex-Breed Destruction) and a release in Dawn Of The Sociopath that is a dangerously intimidating animal and as compelling as it is intrusive. A concept album, Dawn Of The Sociopath is the exploration of an evil mind, a portrait of the deeply disturbed, devious, and destructive mind of a sociopath, the sounds within the album soaked in toxin and the thoughts and words delivered as if a malignancy from Capela, his venomous rasping growls as spiteful as the theme’s source.

Formed in 2001 in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, Echidna took their time emerging as a band publicly. The band focused on and worked hard to establish a strong stability as a unit and to find the direction and sound they wanted and knew represented themselves as people. It was four years before they took to live stages, March 2005 seeing their debut but it soon was followed by a succession of strong shows and plenty of great acclaim. January 2007 saw the release of their self funded debut, the 6 track demo Tearing The Cloth. A strong response to that, solid promotion and as always from the band hard work saw them move towards recording their debut album Insidious Awakening which was released June 2009 on Portuguese label Rastilho Records. From that point the band worked on its follow-up, every aspect well thought out and written to the highest level within the band, their attentive and deliberate purpose now delivered via the same label again and the result another forward step for an impressive and creative band.

The songs within Dawn Of The Sociopath are rampaging forces that grab attention with uncompromising intensity and thoroughly addictive predatory riffs alongside bold thumping rhythms. These alone ensure one wants to hear and know more but with the probing melodic and sharp guitars of David Doutel and Pedro Lima cutting into the senses with their surgical precision and the hell spawned adversarial vocals of Capela, each song is a strongly effective and satisfying experience. Opening track ‘The Antagonist’ sets the tone for the album with the stalking riffs from bassist Miguel Pinto and the vicious and relentless drums of Tiago Cardoso unleashed to great effect. The energy generated is molten and incessant from the album’s first note to its last but it never overwhelms or hides the expressive and strong songwriting that shows a further maturity in the band’s skills.  

The album ripples with highlights from the rabid and intense ‘Bloodlust’, the might of ‘Violent Compulsion’ and ‘Obscuring My Reason’, each with engaging and irresistible melodic grooves that beckon mischievously, to the best track on the album ‘Commanded by Demons’. This latter song is rife with spiteful and virulent aggression veined with intelligent and blistering instinctive razor like guitar incisions and stirring melodies that incite as equally as they please. There is no weakness on the album as closing song ‘The Fallout’ proves with more gratifying sounds.

Echidna has with Dawn Of The Sociopath given an album that not only puts them firmly on the metal map but one that will have a mass of new hearts flocking their way. There is a sameness about the album if one is to be deliberately critical but when that sound is this impressive it does not become a major negative or provide any reason for the lack of investigation. Echidna takes their time with things but they always get it right when they reach each destination point, Dawn Of The Sociopath is the evidence.

RingMaster 23/10/2011

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