Monday, January 16, 2017

Ekpyrosis – Asphyxiating Devotion

Asphyxiating Devotion” is the debut full-length album from Italian death metal band Ekpyrosis, and contains just over 40 minutes of crushing, mind-bending death metal. The name that immediately comes to mind when listening to this release is Immolation, as Ekpyrosis does an admirable job of emulating the American gods. This worship is evident from the jagged style of riffing employed throughout the record, as well as from the band’s propensity towards using pinch harmonics to the point of excess. The end result is an authentic slab of brutality with just enough weirdness to keep things interesting.

One area where Ekpyrosis differs substantially from Immolation is in the vocals. Compared to Ross Dolan’s absurdly deep, hollow growls, Ekpyrosis’ vocalist has a rougher, more barbaric (but still very deep) approach. This makes it even more difficult to understand the lyrics, but fortunately, the music is so good that it doesn’t matter. The songs on “Asphyxiating Devotion” tend to be chaotic, with frequent blast beats and atonal riffing; however, Ekpyrosis also manages to take on new territory on occasion. “Profound Death”, for example, has some doomier moments that show the band exploring their slower side. On occasion, some of these songs lock into a tight groove, featuring rolling double bass that provides relief from the otherwise constant onslaught the more common pounding drumming. 

Though “Asphyxiating Devotion” is not an album filled with classic tracks, it is consistent in its approach and in its effectiveness. There isn’t a single weak track on the record, and it could easily pass as a mid-1990s death metal album if it weren’t for the slightly stronger production (which still is considerably less clean than most modern metal). Ekpyrosis can’t really be criticized for anything they do here because this record is executed to perfection. At worst, it might be one track too long, but it certainly does not overstay its welcome. Ultimately, if you are a serious fan of old-school death metal, “Asphyxiating Devotion” is a must-have record!

Be sure to check out and like Ekpyrosis on Facebook!

Highlights
All of it

Final Rating
4.25/5 or 85%. 

Written by Scott

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Veonity – Into The Void

Into The Void” is the second album from power metal juggernauts Veonity. While the band comes from Sweden, their music gives off strong vibes of German power metal, as the record is filled with Iron Savior tendencies (and Piet Sielck even makes a guest appearance on vocals!). This means that although “Into The Void” has a lot of melody, it also delivers plenty of crunchy, powerful riffs. The guitars are always at the forefront of the music, and even when they’re doing something simple like straightforward alternate picking or letting power chords ring in a chorus, they are effective.

There are a lot of bands that successfully manage to emulate Iron Savior’s style, but where most of them fall apart is in the songwriting department. This isn’t a particularly novel style of music. Though the tracks are speedy, they aren’t flashy, nor do they feature many unique ideas. For this reason, Veonity stands above the rest of the pack because “Into The Void” is filled with anthems. The opening track, “When Humanity Is Gone” is one of the stronger cuts, especially because it features an instantly catchy “whoa-oh” section. Other songs like “Solar Storm”, and “Heart On Fire” are similarly memorable because of great vocal melodies. “Awake” is the track featuring Piet, and the tradeoff of vocals between him and Veonity’s singer, Anders Sköld is quite effective. Sköld definitely sticks to a higher range and isn’t quite as gruff, but nonetheless resembles Piet more closely than singers like Michael Kiske or Tobias Sammet.

To Veonity’s credit, they are much more than just an Iron Savior clone. When they are not delivering maximum riffage, the band is able to use a lot of Helloween-esque melodies (the title track having one of the best examples). The band is also willing to inject a moderate amount of keyboards into their songs, which are typically used to build atmosphere, but occasionally take the spotlight. Another nice element of the band’s music is that they don’t waste a lot of time with ballads or slow tracks. “Insanity” is the sole example, and it’s only 2 minutes, but serves as more of an interlude than a full track. The result is that “Into The Void” is a consistently hard-hitting record, with enough of a unique spin on an Iron Savior meets Helloween sound to be worth revisiting often.   

Be sure to check out and like Veonity on Facebook!

Highlights
"When Humanity Is Gone"
"Awake"
"Solar Storm"

Final Rating
4.4/5 or 88%. 

Written by Scott