Possibly one of the most vicious and uncompromising death metal releases this year and definitely one of the most exploratory in imagination and intrusiveness, Transcend Into Oblivion from Dutch band Empire Of The Scourged abuses and captivates from its first sonic pestilence posing as a note to the final bestial breath cast over the ears. It is a formidable confrontation which ignites senses and emotions with creative ease through a mix of avant-garde and industrial rapaciousness aligned to a death metal voraciousness. It is merciless and at times exhausts the senses but equally invigorates and fires up the imagination with a mouthwatering blaze of intensity and adventure.
The sextet of uncompromising provocateurs take inspirations into their tempest from the likes of Nocturnus, Phlebotomized, Emperor, and Mysticum forging a presence and sound which is distinctly different and demandingly intensive. Every layer and texture has its own exploration going on to stretch the depths of the songs and demands of the listener, but the rewards are extensive and potent. Transcend Into Oblivion has an oppressive air and presence, its maelstrom of invention flailing the ears within a claustrophobic weight and enterprise which itself comes under an equally suffocating production which swamps the senses without ever swallowing up the delicious nuances and dramatic imagination which stalks and dances throughout the release.
The five track mini-album opens with Der Wanderer über dem Nebelsee, its entrance borne on a gentle sonic wind. It is a momentary peace though as war breaks out and riffs start chewing the flesh of the ears as rhythms batter out their submission. That initial sonic warmth still tantalises across the now in full flight fury though, persistently coaxing heavy vocal squalls which growl maliciously over the violent causticity. The track is prime extreme metal punishment but with industrial seeded persuasion, teasing grooves, and melodic enticement from keys and guitars; it is also a wholly seductive introduction leaving passions lit and the imagination eagerly pondering the sonic narrative and its drama fuelled antagonism clad weave.
From the impressive and commanding start Hollow Machinations of the Foul Spirited flicks up another gear, keys wrapping a melodic comfort around the senses as riffs and rhythms as well as the uncontrollably carnivorous vocals stake their pound of submissive flesh from its recipients. There is a similarity between the first two songs in structure but both are individual in character to whet the already fully awoken appetite that little bit more though equally thoughts wonder if the two songs are already the limit of the invention and exploration to be presented. The industrial harkening of Trapped in This Massive Process soon puts that to rest, its epic casting of sound and intensity evolving from its initial fiery embrace into a torrent of grasping riffs and crippling rhythms. A hypnotic bass line soon is given clarity as it spears the core of the provocation whilst melodic electro suasion paints an evocative intrigue around and within the predatory ferocity which erupts and drives the excellent examination of the psyche and body.
Foul Machinations of a Hollow Spirit has imagination and passions in its rigorous hands instantly, seductive and mischievous keys dancing with the ears from the opening seconds as a dangerous raptor like intensity brews and raises its ugly intimidating head. The track is the soundtrack to the most bedlamic psyche eating nightmare and a scintillating ravishing of the senses and thoughts which leaves the opening pair of songs almost seeming like child’s play in their menace and invention. The track snarls and lashes out, seduces and tantalises with a form of demonic wantonness which easily steals top honours on the release.
Transcend Into Oblivion is brought to its striking conclusion by A Scarred Horizon, another to emerge from a stark industrial wasteland like breath to sculpt a malevolence and sonic scourge, to steal from the band’s name, which thrills and depletes every aspect from ears to emotions. It is a towering end to an album which is not going to be a pleasant experience for a great many but equally a major triumph for a mutually strong legion of extreme metal adventurers. Empire Of The Scourged has emerged with a debut which marks them out as a band to watch very closely and to enjoy right now, if you are brave and strong enough that is.
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