August 28, 2016

Review - Amphisbaena - Amphisbaena MLP + CD.

Amphisbaena - Amphisbaena MLP / CD.

Review by Trevor Proctor.

Over the years Canadian bands have supplied us with some of the best underground extreme music around with Antediluvian, Mitochondrion, Revenge and Adversarial being just a few examples of the extremely high standard of bands to originate on Canadian soil. Following months of hints and rumours another entity emerged from the Canadian underground at the tail end of 2015 in the form of Amphisbaena.
On the 16th of December they released their debut MLP on digital formats with a cassette version from Graceless Recordings following in May 2016. Now Iron Bonehead Productions has revealed details surrounding highly anticipated CD and LP versions due to be released on the 9th of September. Featuring stalwarts from Canada’s underground from bands such as Antediluvian, Weapon and Rites of Thy Degringolade it’s no wonder anticipation surrounding this release is high. The extremely talented group of individuals that is Amphisbaena has gathered to forget about limitations in favour of exploring metal’s numerous, and varied extremes.

Following the fall-out after ‘From the Devil’s Tomb’ era Weapon, guitarists N.K.L.H. (Antediluvian, Rites of Thy Degringolade, ex-Weapon) and the secretive |LI|B|EL| united with another legendary musician in the form of drummer, P Kressman whose lengthy resume includes playing for Rites of Thy Degringolade, Sacramentary Abolishment and Weapon. As if the standard of these musicians wasn’t enough H.T. who’s a current member of Antediluvian and also performs live for A.M.S.G. and Revenge also joined their ranks. As you’d expect there’s nothing routine or predictable about Amphisbaena, three members perform vocals and both guitarists use eight strings with the purpose of creating a more aggressive and twisted yet technical sound. The term technical is one that usually has me reaching for the delete button but there’s nothing overly clean or polished to be heard here and there’s most definitely no technical wankery going on - the term technical when used in describing Amphisbaena  merely references the complex structures and composition of their music. (As much as I’d like to lay claim to the term technical wankery it’s a straight-to-the-point phrase I first read in Zero Tolerance magazine)

C.O.A.G. starts the MLP in the strongest of manners and what’s noticeable is how well the three way vocals work as verbal assaults come at you from all directions and angles with the vocals from Kressman and N.K.L.H. meeting the savage and barbarous vocal attack of H.T. with devastating effect. There’s pure power from the opening riff and the guitar work is as precise as it is complex again with nothing formulaic or predictable. The guitar playing is exceptional throughout as the music bursts forth with assault after assault before occasionally subsiding, just to burst forth again without any warning. The MLP comprises four tracks with one surpassing seven minute’s duration and another lasting well over eleven. The music throughout is of a very high standard and wave after wave of disconcerting Death Metal is delivered with pinpoint precision. The standard of music is as high standard as the musicians writing and performing it – you can take your oft-used term “supergroup” and stick it – there’s no “supergroup” about with a higher standard of musicians than Amphisbaena and unlike “supergroups” they haven’t and won’t use the term to sell their music as it’s good enough to speak for itself. Track two, ‘Chthonic Macrophagi’ is available to stream below and one listen is all you’ll need to both appreciate just how good this release is and also to null any requirement for further description. 

This release was perfectly summed up by the press release which stated “But let it be known that Amphisbaena is not "tech" death metal: rather, it is death metal song writing that's simultaneously ascending and descending, pulling in opposite directions but by masterful hands who wield this power with an iron will. Comprising two epic-length tracks and a pair of punchy ones, Amphisbaena is a startling introduction to the madness that is Amphisbaena.”

Don’t let this release pass you by – this is one of many essential purchases so far this year from Iron Bonehead Productions.

If you’re into the likes of Antediluvian or Mitochondrion you’ll love every minute of this. 9/10.


01 - G.O.A.G. 
02 - Chthonic Macrophagi 
03 - Invocation of Pitch 
04 - The Devouring Will.

Amphisbaena's self-titled MLP will be available on CD and LP via Iron Bonehead Productions from the 9th of September.

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