Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dead Congregation - Graves Of The Archangels [2008]

In a wave of Incantation styled bands that (usually) show to be no more than a cheap rehash of what the aforementioned band had done to the death metal genre, Dead Congregation prove to be very worthy of imitating the style and are one of the best in the lot. Their brand of Incantation-esque death metal does not necessarily bring anything new to the table, but it does succeed in crushing it down with an iron and ruthless fist, taking you and your eardrums with it. The sound for which Incantation is renowned is for having some of the heaviest death metal around, and Dead Congregation's debut full-length does anything but disappoint.

The first track, “Martyrdoom,” has a lot of eerie but coherent things going on with the guitars. It doesn’t really show what the rest of the album will sound like, but it does indeed provide an atmosphere that prepares you for the rest of the journey. As soon as “Hostis Humani Generis” kicks off, you’ll be met by very intense death metal. The guitars are heavily distorted and the riffs are usually dominated by tremolo-picking, at times seeming to be all over the place, but that actually come together very compactly. The overt effort and thought these guys put into their riffs and music definitely pays off. Every now and then you’ll hear a doom-laden or eerie passage that aren’t quite as prevalent as the tremolo-picking madness, but they are seen throughout and do a lot more for the music, adding variety to the already remarkable musicianship and songwriting. A worthy mention on this album is the title track. It begins with an uncanny chant of some sort, weird and definitely creepy, adding to the ambiance and creating a peculiar yet great effect. Soon the guitars follow, playing doomy riffs and getting faster as the song progresses. This one contains ridiculously many catchy and somber riffs and they cease to end, at every corner showing to everyone once again their outstanding songwriting skills.

The vocals demonstrate how low death metal growls in all of their headbang-inducing glory can result in catastrophic yet tremendously satisfying results for the listener. They can be described as sort of sludgy yet immensely intense and low at the same time. They blend in with the music, becoming part of it but when paid close attention to indeed prove to be yet another stellar facet on this record. And ah, the drums. Not only is Vagelis Voyiantzis one of the fastest drummers around at this day and age, but he thrives in adding technique and complex patterns to his drumming that are absolutely mind-blowing. Fast drummers are heard almost every day, but ones that that have actual skill and talent are rather scarce. His double bass work is ridiculously fast, as are his hand and blast beat work. They are constantly and ferociously blasting away in the background while the riffs dominate the atmosphere.

I will refrain from further praising this album because if I do, I’ll probably continue rambling on for several more pages. This is one of the best death metal albums in the vein of Incantation that has been released in a long while. And hell, these guys hail from Greece. In all honesty, how many bands do you see coming out of there that succeed in simultaneously blowing your mind and crushing your head while you headbang your way to oblivion? Get this now.



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