Striking and commanding the senses like the mighty swinging claws of a bear the debut album from UK metallers Karybdis is an openly impressive and powerful destructive pleasure. Still remarkably unknown despite being formed late 2009 and with a sound which leaves one grasping for support whilst gasping for more, things surely are set to change with the release of From The Depths. It is a crushing slab of invention and creativity brought with a skill and accomplishment of the highest order. Previous releases, the single Condemned To Extinction and the War For Land EP marked the London quintet as a band to watch and they have not left any disappointment with From The Depths.
Karybdis bring a storm of extreme metal across the album as powerful and rich as the Greek mythology which inspired their name, a sea creature from Homer’s Odyssey the exact source for their title. Each song is a blistering aural violation of death and groove metal punctured and energised with challenging hardcore influences. Within the constant assault though there is a consistent brew of imaginative invention even if at times it needs an extra concentrated look beneath the bruising consumptive surface.
The album opens immediately with the best track on the album though it is challenged for the honour persistently throughout the release. Minotaur is outstanding to understate things, from its dark atmospheric introduction of soulful and melancholic breath upon waves of the sea and solitude the track is a mesmeric storm waiting to be unleashed. As its air becomes more tempestuous with coarse growls and raised intensity there is a sense of a collision impending for the senses, something the song eagerly deals with stunning efficiency. Once in full rampage the ear is accosted with a groove as teasing and wanton as it is infectiously irresistible. Accompanied by bulging riffs and combative rhythms to buckle all knees the track leaves one breathless as it consumes to exploit and ultimately violate every corner of the senses, all the time that persistent devilish groove picking away at the wounds with the delight.
From the first song alone one is strongly impressed by the merciless rhythms of drummer Mitch McGugan alongside the demanding riffs and enterprise of bassist Jay Gladwin. The dual guitar attack of Pierre Dujardin and Harsha Dasari spring from this immense framework to bring their own creative sadism, their invention manipulating the ear with riffs which leave cartilage alongside bone crumbling and a melodic scorching to flay the senses into a submissive frenzy. Vocalist Rich O’Donnell, the newest member of the band, brings from his depths energy and intense malevolence which only accentuates the assault and delivers the lyrics as brutally and intrusively as you could wish. The following title track immediately enforces all that came before it whilst bringing a distinctly different approach. The grooves are here but more restrained whilst the incendiary guitar sonics and melodic explorations are to the fore. Though not as contagious as the first it is no less a fully satisfying brute.
The likes of the venomous Without Wings, the perpetual assassination of synapses that is Medusa closely followed by the equally damaging rage of Maelstrom, all extract the deepest satisfaction and pleasure from within. It is the duo though of Worth It and I Say alongside the opener which compound the existing thought that Karybdis are sure to make a major impact in the future of UK metal. The first of the pair is an excellent savage crusade of riffs and malicious energy against the senses with a tendency to unleash the cruellest undefined grooves which taunt throughout. The track has all the predatory instincts of a pack of wolves and the ravenous appetite too. The latter song starts as relentlessly and greedily as the first but evolves into a feast of winding insatiable grooves and a wonderfully surprising prog jazz like aside within the rampant aggressive intent. Both songs are as immense as the opener and gratifyingly varied to each other, whilst together the trio easily epitomise the album as a whole.
Produced by Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir), From The Depths is a stunning debut and the bringer of real promise for not only the band but UK extreme metal. If one was being over fussy, maybe there is still some originality to be found to truly set them apart from others but it is hard to recall a recent extreme release as enjoyable as this and that is what it is all about.
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