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The first thing I've always noticed before buying an album from a band that I hadn't heard was in the presentation at first . If there was something about it, whether that something being a band member wearing a shirt from another band I was into, great morbid titles or just the actual cover itself I always searched for something that would ultimately make me spend my money because let's be honest; during this time period dating from "Tenebrous Apparitions" release the death metal scene was really starting to develop . Now in a developing movement one had to be careful because while some bands were just that (scene definers) you definitely had your wannabees and hangers on that just didn't get what death metal was all about . I truly believed the moment this e.p. was in my hands that Mexico's Cenotaph knew exactly what death metal was about and before even dropping the needle on it, I also knew that this band was going to be sick . I was right . The cover and the logo and the song titles all fit in that dirty morbid group of bands that knew perfectly what the underground was all about .
The guitars are the first thing that grabs one's attention and are extremely sludgy and down tuned . Very sludgy and down tuned . This band sounds as death filled as the gruesome customer on the cover of their 7" looks . I mean literally this band sounds like they recorded this album in a crypt . The slower parts are immensely heavy and morbid . The drummer is surgically precise destroying any notion one would have of this being anything but the purest form of death metal . The riffs are catchy and hold a distinct morbid chaotic groove . The bass is sludgy as well and is almost recorded lower than the frequency of human ears can possibly decipher . The vocals sound as dead as anything dead that was singing could possibly sound . They are guttural and disgusting and truly offer a perfect exclamation point to the whole malicious sound this band produced here . Even though this e.p. offers only the two songs "Repulsive Odor of Decomposition" and "Larvs of Subconscious" they are truly two death metal anthems that should be sought by all those that truly seek only the heaviest and purest form of death metal . The only thing a perfect output like this could actually benefit from would be the very thing that makes this such an amazing record in the first place: MORE SONGS .
Cenotaph's first e.p. "Tenebrous Apparitions" is a must own for any old school fan of death metal . Initially only being pressed in a very limited run, if you can find this record it's worth it . This is some heavy heavy stuff . It is just as classic as Autopsy's "Severed Survival", Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" or Pungent Stench's "For God Your Soul" album and honestly you don't get more classic than that, do you ?
Distorted Harmony released this first 7" vinyl from Cenotaph in 1990. Although it was recorded only a few months after their disappointing "Rise of Excruciation" demo, the band displayed a fair amount of improvement on this EP - musically as well as sound-wise. "Tenebrous Apparitions" presents two songs of simple, dirty death metal with a pinch of grindcore.
If you're already familiar with the demo tape, then the first you'll notice about this release is the actual studio production. You can finally hear the riffs! The production indeed favors the guitars on this 7", which are downtuned in the style of Autopsy or Carcass; but the drum sound has also taken a step forward. The highs are very clear this time around, and the snare doesn't sound like a strange noise you'd hear at an auto mechanic's garage. The drumming still remains simple, but the execution and timing is much improved in relation to the demo. There's a modest amount of double bass used, which would later resurface in greater amounts on the second EP. The vocals are still bland, basic death metal growls, but at least they're not straight in your face like they were on the demo tape.
"Repulsive Odor of Descomposition" (sic) is the first song which begins at a steady slow tempo until becoming very grindcorish about midway through. The transition between these styles is unexpected and done in a way that makes the song sound unbalanced in the end. The drummer's blastbeats are average, but he's able to control his timing and make the faster sections fun to listen to. The maniacal guitar solo that closes the song is totally killer.
Side B consists of "Larvs of Subconscious". This one starts off at full blast before smoothly transitioning to a heavy mid tempo after about a minute. The rest of the song is back to a quicker pace, where chunky riffs of the Cannibal Corpse variety emerge into the mix. After a relaxing breakdown, more blasting pummels the listener which continues until the end of the track. The more grindy parts of this composition are reminiscent of the brutality that Broken Hope were exhibiting on their early material.
"Tenebrous Apparitions" is not an essential purchase, but it's here where Cenotaph began building a foundation to become one of the best death metal acts to grace Mexico. Let the journey commence...