Ævangelist - Writhes in the Murk (2014)
Review by Trevor Proctor
ÆVANGELIST have been turning and twisting heads with their demented death metal since debut EP, “Oracle of Infinite Despair,” was released in 2011. Since then they’ve brought us two albums, an EP and a split release with Esoterica. Their music vigorously defies classification as they constantly push the boundaries of dark and intense death by blending it with influences ranging from jazz to industrial along with a little bit of almost everything in-between.
On previous recordings Matron Thorn played all instruments and Ascaris all vocals – this album is slightly different as it sees Ascaris playing cello and saxophone with Matron Thorn mixing things up further by performing vocals for the first time on track six, Harken to the Flesh. Their first album “De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis” came out in October 2012 with a second, Omen Ex Simulacra, following just over a year later in November 2013 – both were greeted with fervour by both media and fans.
October 2014 will see the North American release of their third album, “Writhes in the Murk” via Hell’s Headbangers. The cover painting on Writhes in the Murk was designed by Andrzej Masianis with layout and artistic direction by Brian VDP in conjunction with Ævangelist; the album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Matron Thorn at The Parish studio.
Twisted, suffocating and oppressive death metal lie at the core of Ævangelist’s music yet there’s nothing conventional or orthodox about them – screams, effects, samples, electro, jazz-influenced drumming, industrial segments and all manner of instrumentation combine to create a very varied, atmospheric and horrific listen. The first three tracks see us in territory that’s as familiar as it gets with a band like Ævangelist – crushing, smothering, horrific death metal is the order of the day but it’s when we reach track four, Disquiet, that Ævangelist pulls the rug from under our feet. It’s an ambient, electro instrumental that’s vaguely reminiscent of Ulver’s Perdition City – it’s quite easy listening and may not be to some listeners liking but for me it augments the album’s variation and atmosphere whilst providing an enjoyable respite from the rest of the madness. Disquiet is sheer brilliance from beginning to end - though fear not, if ambience or electro aren’t for you, this is the shortest track, by far, on the album so it shouldn’t discourage you in the slightest.
Ælixir follows, restoring the blackened atmosphere in an instant; it’s a seven minute track featuring the usual diverse array of sounds as Ævangelist continues to pummel the senses and eardrums, albeit in a good way. They flip the track on its head with inclusion of Ascaris’ saxophone in the background, which increases to the extent where it comes to the fore of the track mid-way until their swirling vortex of oppressive, twisted death returns for the final section of this unbelievably good track. The most difficult part of reviewing this album is there’s so much going on during the tracks that each one has a shed load of mention-worthy and attention grabbing moments but if I was to start to detail even a fraction of them we’d both be here for way too long…
1 - Hosanna
2 - The Only Grave
3 - Praeternigma
4 - Disquiet
5 - Ælixir
6 - Harken to the Flesh
7 - Halo of Lamented Glory
8 - Writhes in the Murk
Ævangelist's Writhes in the Murk is released by Hell's Headbangers on October 21st