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Tred Not Lightly the Pathway to Hell - 90%

TheStormIRide, December 6th, 2013

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.