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Nowadays many bands suffer for the malignant sickness called “I-tion-ism”. I’m not even gonna mention any names now, as there’s no point, besides I believe that every death metal maniac, who dwells in the underground and is familiar with the current wave of old school death metal will be able to name many of them. In this review I’m going to recommend you one more such band, whose “I-tion-ism” is very evident, but in this case this disease turned into something truly great. Ladies and gentlemen, here is Ignivomous from Australia! I again strongly believe that this band will be known to the diehard death maniacs, as Ignivomous has already been ripping our souls for few years and through this time they’ve delivered quite few recordings. Personally I knew the name for a couple of years, but only few months ago I finally managed to get some recordings of those Aussie maniacs and well… if I kept saying in other reviews that Disma made an enormous impression on me, then Ignivomous pretty much repeats that impact. To put is as simply as I can: “Death Transmutation” is a fuckin great record and it just shreds to pieces!
Hmm, I bet some of you will ask what the hell is that “I-tion-ism” for fuck sake? Well, the answer is very simple – it is when the band takes a huge influence from a couple of legendary New York troops of death: Incantation and Immolation. If their influence is audible in every sound and every riff of the music, then it certainly is an incurable disease called “I-tion-ism”, right? In my opinion Ignivomous has been infected by this virus also, but this is not a disadvantage, but a strong point and great value of their music, as in many ways “Death Transmutation” – just like the mentioned “People of the Monolith” of Disma – outdo what the “I-tion” bands did in the past decade or more. I feel utterly smashed by the heaviness, intensity and the whole incredibly dark and blasphemous mood of their music and it just really feels like a bulldozer run over my body and crushed every bone in it, leaving just a pile of rotten flesh and blood. Great advantage of Ignivomous’ “Death Transmutation” is that the music on is not really so focused on slow, almost doomy playing, what usually Incantation is famous for. It is actually the opposite and I can say that the enormous dose of “Death Transmutation” is fast or mid paced, what – if you add to this that brutal and powerful production – only increases the feeling of dealing with something uncompromising, extreme, massive and gigantic. There are of corpse some slower moments on the album, like in “Alchemy of Suffering”, which for sure belongs to the best songs, as well as “The World upon Nihil”, which also is more mid paced oriented, speaking of the tempo… but whether we speak of fast or slower tunes, for me the whole album is just incredibly strong and powerful, with nothing really what would bother me or what I wouldn’t like. When I’ve been listening to “Death Transmutation” I just felt totally amazed and astonished by the quality of Ignivomous’ music and well… I know that nowadays the death metal scene may be filled with similar kind of bands and that the real, traditional death metal is in good health once more, but you can trust me – not many bands have been able to capture that essence and power of this music in such a great way as it is on “Death Transmutation”.
In the end I must add that I like that quite untypical way of releasing “Death Transmutation”, which comes not in the standard jewel case, but in the bigger booklet, suitable for the 7”EP singles… It surely looks cool. Obviously I’ll also try to chase the vinyl version of this album, which I think came on picture LP, but for now I am just very happy to have this CD. Limited to 1000 copies, so you better try to add it to your collection, before it is too late.
Standout tracks: “Alchemy of Suffering”, “Beckoned to a Global Tomb”, “Hedonistic Pain Ritual”, “The World upon Nihil”
With the reversed sound of glass shattering is this ritual begun and what a fitting initiation it is. From deconstruction comes reconstruction, chaos formed into order, something once broken made anew. The faster, morbid riffing of Incantation clashes with the primitive and primordial nature of early Australian war metal madness. The influence of the latter shows especially in the drumming with mostly unchanging beats. Blastbeats or simple double bass beats, Chris Volcano just doesn't let up. It is no wonder though since he was a founder in Abominator, one of the early purveyors of Australian war metal. The beats are fast, but simplistic even if not the constant blastbeat barrage that often mars war metal.
Then again with the way the guitars rumble alongside the blastbeats, said beats are very fitting. If Sunlight's sound is a buzzsaw, Ignivomous's is a chainsaw of equal size roaring in a cavern alongside an ongoing earthquake. So there's a lot of rough, organic edge to it as well as enough thick crunch to provide the crushing force for the pummeling that the guitars are used for. For the compositions and arrangements Ignivomous have come up with are definitely not for those looking for light-hearted and catchy listening. While most songs are fast and often frantic with drums that beat the listener down at every opportunity, the riffs used vary very much and change up very fast. From the almost indistinct, constant roar and riffs with palm-muted notes flying every which way to the eerie tremolo-picks and slow, Incantation-styled doomies. Still, it wouldn't do the band justice to call them technical death metal for that they aren't and it definitely isn't the point or theme of the album or band, even if the way the songs are constructed would lead that way as well, with the chaotic shifting of parts without much repetition or anything resembling a chorus.
Vocals on Death Transmutation are a monotonous, harsh, fairly low - but not completely unintelligible - roar. Often they get a bit lost in the all-inclusive roar of the guitars, but this is rare and doesn't harm the experience one bit. In fact, it works in the album's favor, adding to the chaotic maelstrom-feel of it. The aforementioned slow and doomy riffs reminiscent of Incantation play a large part in a couple of songs on the album of which one is the closer, Alchemy of Suffering. The song differs a whole lot from the rest of Death Transmutation due to its slow pace. It goes on for almost nine minutes and only about three of them is of the fast and frantic style that represents the rest half an hour of the album. Listening to it, one can really tell that Ignivomous have listened to their Incantation, Abolishment of Immaculate Serenity off of Mortal Throne of Nazarene especially. The way the riffs and drums are made to drag along the cavern floor, leaving behind a trail of slime is something so like John McEntee that it is uncanny. Alchemy of Suffering also mirrors its American counterpart in the way it ends, with a very rolling drum beat, promising something is yet to come and then fading away.
The way the music on Death Transmutation creates connections between its parts is quite chaotic and it all feels often like a whirlwind of riffs and drumbeats. Once you get the gist of one, it shifts to something else and that makes for a very challenging and rewarding listen. But rarely is something so chaotic been so well constructed, so crushing and so intense with its atmosphere of apocalypse and end of the world.
Rawness, technical perfection, pure darkness, uncompromising and true hatred – that is the deafening ichor which seeps from this vile disc. This is the sort of death metal that instills a sense of fear and ominous foreboding in the listener, as if his last hours will come with the dawn and his body will be reduced to dust and ash in the early morning rays as they pierce the night sky and soar over the horizon. Ignivomous brings us some of the finest death metal that is dark, menacing, heavy and powerful.
This Australian act immediately brings back memories of classic Incantation with their monstrous dark death metal. But there’s a slight difference, where Incantation employs slow and doomy tempo, Ignivomous plays everything with speed and fast tempo. Relentless blasting is reminiscent of Onward to Golgotha and Mortal Thrones of Nazarene-era Incantation with slight hints of the rhythmic riffing of Immolation and Drawn and Quartered in songs like "Beckoned to a Global Tomb" and “The Alchemy of Suffering”.
Death Transmutation opens with fast and heavy onslaught of tremolo riffs with powerful drumming; within constant blasting the lead vocalist steps in and punishes the listener with his deep demonic snarls. The album has thick and beefy production yet everything sounds remarkably polished and crystal clear. Riffs are so powerful and heavy that bludgeon you like a ten ton hammer. Just listen to the song “Beckoned To A Global Tomb” at around 04:20 when open strings are played and turn the volume up, you’ll be begging for mercy in no time. The vocalist can hit those dark inflictions very much in the same vein of Craig Pillard’s classic work. One thing that didn’t really impress me is the solos, they are there but they are not as memorable as the rest of the album is. But I’m willing to make an exception since the rest of the album more than makes up for it. Closing track “The Alchemy of Suffering” starts with slow doomy riffs and sound of ringing bells of some Church in the background. That sound adds to the overall atmosphere and makes it even darker. Feels like the day of reckoning is near and the dead are rising from their graves. Seriously it’s that much haunting and scary.
Ignivomous has mastered how to create dark and haunting atmosphere and they know how to formulate some of the sickest and demonic death metal I’ve ever heard. The end result is a record that feels as though it has ripped a portal into our world with which it shall bring forth creatures not bound by the conventions of time and space to rip open our flesh and feast on our corpses. Highly recommended to an infinite degree! I can’t believe I didn’t find out about these guys earlier, fucking awesome!
Much as their name implies, Ignivomous is like a burst of lava spewed forth from the unholy throat of the Abyss. Disturbing, caustic bursts of thick grinding death metal, wailing, uncontrolled leads, and kit molestation courtesy of a former Destroyer 666 member (the band are all Aussie scene veterans). The tone this band uses for their guitars is thicker and crueler than even Sweden's 'trademark' style. The results are in and Death Transmutation is one of the heaviest fucking albums this genre has visited all year.
There is no room to breathe. All 7 tracks are brutal, juggernauts of radiated flesh suffocating all within the album's blast radius. "Hedonistic Pain Ritual" draws first blood with an onslaught of crushing, grinding chaos. Though dense and fast, Ignivomous perform their death metal with a lot of old school character. Creepy old school riffs and breakdowns that count. Whether it's the title track, "Noneuclidian Maelstrom" or "Beckoned to a Global Tomb", the album provides a consistent beating which few this year can match in heaviness. The vocals are so in tune with the music that they also get lost among the guitars. The lyrics are suitably desolate and destructive.
'Pinioned by abjection
Through viciousness and squalor
From nowhere to nothing...'
And those are the real stars of this disc, the disgusting, thick guitars which sound like they are giving you a first person tour of what happens down at the meat factory. Once "The Alchemy of Suffering" comes to a close, you feel as if you've just been leveled emotionally. Death Transmutation is not about melody, and not often about catchy rhythms. It is about hacking you repeatedly with a meat cleaver until you are nought but ribbons of flesh on the butcher block.
Renowned for their dense songwriting, intricate, unconventional structures and dark, percussively driven brand of death metal, the New York Death Metal scene has produced some of the most challenging, yet rewarding records ever written. For some, such complexity can be deterring and difficult to come to fully appreciate, but for others such as myself, there is almost nothing greater. So, upon discovering Ignivomous earlier this year and hearing of their desire to reignite the hellish flames of morbid death metal in the vein of Immolation and Incantation, I was immediately intrigued. However, given the state of modern death metal and the endless slew of sterile, uninspired tech-death and mindless Suffocation worship polluting its airways, I had my doubts about Death Transmutation. Was it really possible for them to encapsulate the signature sound and sonic torment of the NYDM heavy-weights without coming across as yet another lifeless interpretation? You’re damn right they can!
Being able to reproduce such ominous insanity is certainly not easy, however Ignivomous’ molten mass of cacophonous riffing, atypically complex drumming patterns and maliciously venomous vocals all smouldering inside a suffocatingly dense abyss does so tremendously. While it may not be as inhumanely evil as Mortal Throne of Nazarene or possess the mind-bending technicality of Here in After, Death Transmutation is still a solid slab of disgustingly vicious death metal and remarkably impressive for a debut album. The songs themselves are quite varied, consisting of thick, volatile surges of dissonant death metal torture as well as sludgy, viscous oozes of Incantation inspired riffing which both completely smother anything that comes across their path. Complimenting this sense of claustrophobia is the guitar’s down-tuned, impenetrably bass-heavy tone, which conjures a mental image of wading waist-deep through a repulsively putrid swamp; the stench of decomposition and decay piercing your sinuses as the haze of noxious fumes leaches into your body. With a crushing amount of low-end to it, the overall production is to a similar effect and further intensifies the dark, dense atmosphere permeating throughout the entire album.
Adding another dimension of unspeakable evil to Ignivomous’ bombardment of sonic misery are vocalist Edward’s deep, vitriolic growls, which bare a striking resemblance to those of Craig Pillards. Now while they undeniably compliment the music itself perfectly, I feel they can become somewhat one-dimensional and monotonous at times but only very slightly. However with that being said, I have to commend his absolutely menacing vocals during the outro of cataclysmic album closer “The Alchemy of Suffering.” These long, sustained gushes of gut-wrenchingly low gutturals are greeted by a monstrous wall of slow and foreboding riffs with the doom and Incantation influence stronger than ever. In all its imposing grandeur, this monolithic track also features some of the most haunting guitar leads I have ever heard. The apocalyptic atmosphere they are able to evoke is completely and utterly petrifying, and it is this ability to procreate a literal feeling of anxiety and unease eating away at your insides that makes Death Transmutation so phenomenal.
This sense of horror corroding and contorting your mind is exacerbated by more agonizing guitar leads and solos in the chaotic, up-tempo title track and the more doom orientated “Beckoned to a Global Tomb.” These extreme sections of frenzied shredding and wailing are where the Immolation influence really shines through, with passages of string-bends and whammy bar abuse almost identical to the master himself Bob Vigna. The riffs themselves mutate between dissonant tremolo picking and bizarre, atonal passages as well as more harmonious sounding chord progressions found in the more doom influenced songs. Accompanying this demented maze of excruciating guitar work is drummer Chris’ equally destructive barrage of relentless blasting and double bass. Displaying immense strength and stamina, this incredible drum performance also achieves that claustrophobic effect with just so much happening at once and at such ridiculous speed.
Despite its overwhelmingly dense and complex nature, Death Transmutation is a masterfully executed mass of sheer death metal insanity and is truly worthy of feasting among the higher order of the NYDM gods. Now, while you may become discouraged by its inaccessible nature at first, just give it some time, because once this slab of supreme death metal glory clicks, you will never want to put it down.