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I really feel that modern death metal is lacking something. It could be due to pristine production with triggered drums and compression. Sometimes I find myself wondering what Vital Remains would sound like if they had stuck to their original formula of evil riffing, rather than endless cascades of blastbeats. Death metal, I feel, is not simply about wall to wall brutality. It is about evoking a disturbing atmosphere. Shub Niggurath certainly does that.
Granted, this, Shub Niggurath's second offering, is already over ten years old, it feels fresh. One could even go so far as to say that it is timeless. Whatever the description, this is bloody good death metal.
The first thing you'll really feel here is the horrific atmosphere. Endless Christ-bashing is a super trite subject, so luckily, Shub Niggurath have chosen Lovecraftian occultism as a lyrical subject. The music evokes visions of nameless abominations. There is a great emphasis on low end, churning riffs, which, when coupled with the semi-incomprehensible growling and labyrinthine song structures, makes The Kinglike Celebration unpredictable and all the more frightful.
The line-up here is a simple three piece consisting of Julio Viterbo (now in the Chasm), Oscar Clorio (most known from his work in Cenotaph), and maniacal vocalist, Arturo. This is a much different beast than the Chasm, with almost no melodies. Julio's soloing is twisted, atonal and bizarre. Arturo's not too far off from Daniel Corchado, utilizing at times the spoken/growled dual vocals. Oscar's drumming is top notch. There are quite a few blast beats on here, and they usually come in spurts. That keeps things from getting banal and at times, and at times, even gives an uneasy feel.
Most third world bands have shit production, either too muddy, or too clear. Not so here. The Kinglike Celebration is terrifically muddy, much like old Incantation. You can hear everything, possibly not with absolute clarity, but it gives a real nice touch of brutality.
This is real death metal here. Cult and twisted. Highly recommended.
What I like about this later album is the music really comes together. It's refreshing to hear musicians once and awhile play efficiently. Typically one musician might stick out more than another in the pack. And I think I've served my passionate/experimental/extreme metal "sentence" to be able to enjoy drumming once in a while, for instance, that wasn't learned from the back of a cereal box or a secret in a Cracker Jack carton.
Quasimodo never knew such a hunch from the headbanging that this caused me. This is just a well orchestrated, catchy, entertaining...dark, lurking shadow. Some bands emit 'waves': something that comes one moment at a time, a snip, snip, snip till the album is cut up, an onion that makes you leak at the eyes. Though this recording is the way the entertainer Gallagher opens up a watermelon, a series of sledgehammer blows till the juicy insides are blown to bits and the audience is covered with its gory remnants as a later reminder. And from what can seem like a tendency to chaos, is just a tuned and refined way to bottle this 'explosiveness' in the diabolical laboratory of their bandroom and unleash it as one compacted recording.
'The Kinglike Celebration' is nobody's lackey. The previous album displayed deep death metal rumblings, this recording presents a mixture of black metal tendencies and that same tone from the prior pops up, weaves and winds itself throughout, and is just as an integral part of Shub Niggurath's mixed game plan. Melody is here just as well as aggressiveness decided to show its rough looking head. And The Shub is able to effectively combine the handsome and the homely without coming out in the middle as an everyman. Higher strings are used as deeper chug is...abused. There are even keyboard segments that will enter the picture as subtle brush strokes and project a certain atmospheric scenery.
The band has aspects that stand out among their scattered playing. The drums hitting hyper blasts at points would normally just be reasoned to speed's sake, but when he does them it seems at the 'right' moment; a balance and a build up. He's also able to generate thrash-like beats with an every other click and split the check evenly with the other members of the genre party. His rapid stick hits on the cymbals, in between tearing up the rest of his now wrecked drums, create gyrations that even the grand mal sharers of the epileptic world wouldn't even fathom; beyond science and logical reasoning, I don't know how he does it.
Even though the guitarist has a particular varied riffing style, his riffs roll right off the tongue. Switching it up from an interesting melodic high to a jerking, give-me-a-pitchfork-I-want-to-join-the-hording low. It might be the drummer attempting to catch up to him or the other way around. He's literally able to change his style around within a short time frame while not repeating himself for awhile. A decent amount of guitarists will fine-tune a certain riff till they get it right and then remind you of the greatness of that riff through the duration of the song. And who can blame them? His tendency must of been to move on and on and on after working with a guitar line, then force himself to do the same with the next, which in the end makes it appear that whatever riff he is spewing is a work of fine craftsmanship. The vocals are also right there to match the underlying music; he'll sprint as well as walk, wherever the particular style is taking him. His voice is a senior citizen's rasp: the deteriorating, the decrepit. He's the main-brain in the pack of a mob, ready to extend his command to fit the emotion of the pillaging.
Would Lovecraft be turning in his grave at their referenced name, or would he desperately be trying to loudly sing praise through all six feet of dirt? I guess Lovecraft was just as guilty at giving a cough and a wheeze to his predecessors as the band Shub Niggurath is. A repeated name, but a vigorous start, middle, and unfortunately an end for the group. A rare occurrence this is, that it goes out with a bigger bang I feel than their other recordings which have their own individual merits.
Oh yeah and I almost forgot:
How many Mexican guys did it take to create 'The Kinglike Celebration'? (Hint: One to put up the foundation, one to apply the siding, and one to lay down the roof.) A redundant question, I know, 'cause only the Necronomicon: BOOK OF THE DEAD! can hold such a secretive and elusive answer.
As a nihilist, Howard Phillips Lovecraft would state that the human conceptions of moral "good" and "evil" were devoid of meaning. Ironically, many decades after his death, a south american band would incorporate in their compositions imagery from his horror literature on the purpose of generating a malign and blasphemous sound.
On this record, the stringed instruments are not very prominent; it's the percussion and vocals that are loud enough to receive most of the attention share. If the artist's original intention in this measure was to strengthen a gloomy atmosphere, it succeeds because the listener will tend to absorb the compositions more as a whole, instead of underlooking other aspects of the music, what generally happens in riff-oriented songs. However, quite a few noticeable thrashy death metal riffs and short leads fade out in moments where they could've been louder and still remain conceptually appropriate.
The singing is not performed via traditional shrieks; instead dry, raspy and very desperate vocals are uttered, harmonically fitting the creepy development of the songs. The drums conduct in reasonable fashion the music's generally slow pace and their climaxes, although the extensive cymbal use often sounds abusive. Synthetizers are claimed on some songs to provide aditional dark and epic components to the musical background.
The combination of all these elements results in an omnipresent driving pattern throughout the album, which the casual listener might condemn as uncreative repetition but in a global perspective, emulates an occultic, cosmic horror ambience, as in a continuous invocation ritual for the lovecraftian deities. No lyrics were left for analysis but the musically immersed listener will identify the horripilant ceremonial chants for Yog-Sothoth in the songs "Unnamable Evokation" and "Inside The Labyrinth Of Illusion"
Overall, an interesting blackened effort; serves as a metaphor for the inevitability of darkness in our morally polarized world. The last aeon is finished; mankind is doomed, for the Outer Gods hold incommensurable amounts of power.