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In the midst of Metal being at the most artistically and philosophically-challenging it has ever been it is easy to forget sometimes that at the end of the day the musicians behind those genre niches are just as human and just as prone to competitiveness. In the 80's there was the race for Thrash bands to be the fastest; in the 90's Black Metal bands vied to outdo each other for evilness and lo-fi production and then of course in the late 90's Death Metal bands began tuning lower, introducing stupid pitch-shifted animal vocals and trying to be “more technical/br00tal than thou.” It would be nice to think warped, abyssal Death Metal would be exempt from childish combatativeness like this, but I fear that in trying to distinguish themselves from the small crowd of bands playing this style Ӕvangelist have gone too far. Some people have called the new Antediluvian album almost unlistenable, but at least on Logos everything seems driven by a unified theme. This album is a mess, and a long and obnoxious mess at that.
One of my main issues with this is that it feels like an album of two halves. The 12 and a half minute opener “Veils” starts off in a much more atmospheric fashion than most contemporaries like Mitochondrion or even Portal, to the point that this nearly has as much in common with the most confrontational Noise/Power Electronics artists like Whitehouse or Suttcliffe Jügend, and a real grimey early 90's Wax Trax! label roster tone to the drums. There are some of those typically disrhythmic riffs in there too, but it feels as though they are just another fragment in this sonic jumble- not given the pride of place they normally are on Metal records. I have no problem with that personally, and I wouldn't be averse to a whole album in this style, but it's unfortunate that this fairly groundbreaking approach isn't mirrored with similar unusualness thematically or aesthetically. If anything, Ӕvangelist are playing it a bit too safe here in that respect.
The album gets increasingly more Metal as the hour plus duration ticks along, first with blastbeats coming in on “Mirror Of Eden”, and then some tremelo-picked riffs on “Hell Synthesis.” The problem is though that the atmospheric noise elements sit like a blanket of static on this, muffling the riffs and strangling any memorability out of them. It is obnoxious to listen to, unnecessary and has no theme behind it- it seems driven only by the desire to take everything about their style and push to the nth degree, losing what made it enjoyable in the first place.
The album gets better in the second half, with the drum fills in the middle of “Prayer For Ascetic Misery” and the orthodox Death Metal groove and memorable riffs of “Relinquished Destiny” and “Seclusion” providing some standout moments. It just feels too much like a completely different album from how this started out. On the atmospheric half of the record they try too hard to beat their contemporaries, and on the generic straight-up Metal side they don't try hard enough. [4/10]
From WAR ON ALL FRONTS A.D. 2013 zine- www.facebook.com/waronallfronts
Ævangelist is a two piece band formed by Benighted in Sodom's Matron Thorn, who is now based in Portland, Oregon, and Ascaris, the bassist for Shavasana, who dwells in Chicago, Illinois. The band's debut album, De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis, which was released in 2011, received fairly high marks from the extreme metal community, with critics reveling in its grotesquely dark atmospheres and extremely chaotic songwriting, breathing death into an unsuspecting populous. Indeed, the utterly heavy insanity presented on the band's debut album would be difficult to top, but here we are. In 2013, Ævangelist return with their sophomore effort, titled Omen Ex Simulacra, released through the French label Debemur Morti Productions.
Once again treading the pathway to hell, Ævangelist's approach hasn't changed much over the last two years. That Omen Ex Simulacra has its roots the extremes of black and death metal is certainly not in question, as that is were the band starts, but the end result is something much different than your run of the mill blackened death metal. The music here gives an aural representation of Lovecraftian landscapes: twisted; malformed; chaotic; more than slightly insane. Even the album's artwork, which, while not as gruesome or repulsive as the art on the band's debut, depicts what appears to a rotten and blackened heart amidst some otherworldly flesh. That is exactly how this album feels though, like a living, breathing, twisted and crushing piece of otherworldly noise.
The overall product has similarities to acts like Portal and Mitochondrion, but the similarities are best attributed to the fact that all of those bands, along with Ævangelist, are pushing the limits of what we know as extreme metal. Ævangelist's approach lies somewhere between the realms of tech death and slow and torturous old school death metal. I know, I know, that leaves a lot of open ground to cover. There are sections that are extremely fast paced blasting, like certain parts of “Mirror of Eden”, and there are parts that revere old school death metal with slower riffing and pummeling rhythms, like on “The Devoured Aeons of Stygian Eternity”. Hell, there's even a section with a sinister groove on “Prayer for Ascetic Misery”. Ævangelist's true strength is the way they combine all of these elements into a cohesive trip to the Stygian depths as deep guttural vocals combine with the twisted, malignant music. Pieces of electronic noise and ethereal sound pierce through the torturous music, constantly picking at your brain and testing the limits of your sanity. The album closes with the monstrous, almost thirteen minute “Abysscape”, which serves to finish you off, as the grand finale is utterly heavy and even more insane and twisted than you could imagine. The noisy, subterranean soundscape will take hold of the last essence of your mortal being and drag it, kicking and screaming, towards an abrupt exit; a journey towards blackness and nothingness.
Omen Ex Simulacra is the aural equivalent of having your brain stem surgically removed from your spine; the general feeling of having your sanity slowly sapped from your body, fully aware yet unable to resist. This is the most twisted, hell-ridden journey I've taken in quite some time. Ævangelist's music is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, because it will destroy you and make no offer to fix you when it's done. Tread not lightly the pathway to hell.