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Some of the best metal comes from European countries, and some of the best concepts of music come from underground bands. What do you get when you combine European an underground? Amongst the myriad possibilities, I managed to stumble upon Sin of God - a technical death metal band from Hungary, with an emphasis on powerful sound across all instruments and a mission to destroy the entire friggin' world.
I was very surprised to hear that Satan Embryo was the band's first release. It's well-paced and feels more like a sophomore effort than a newcomer's debut. Everything about this EP screams "experience". For instance, Sin of God truly has some of the most powerful vocals I've heard in the death metal genre, and from a relatively-obscure band, that's quite the accomplishment. A lot of bands require studio mastering to produce a powerful vocal track that doesn't get swallowed up by the instrumentation, and that can result in an artificial sound that just doesn't feel right. With Sin of God's release, that doesn't happen at all - something deserving of much praise. The blend of high shrieks and brutal lows are great, and lend extremely well to the instrumentation behind them.
Speaking of the instrumentation, the drumming is also extremely powerful - to the point where I almost question whether or not it's over-produced. Nonetheless, the drumming is loud and very much present without detracting from the guitars or the vocals. The guitarwork is enjoyable at every turn, matching the pace of the drumming and the strength of the vocals without devolving or becoming monotonous. Every member of the band has their spotlight at the right time and for the right length. It's very impressive, really. I think that, at first, Sin of God was a lot to take in at once, and the blinding fury with which they assaulted my ears was so powerful that I wasn't able to properly dissect each aspect of the band's sound and skill. They stray away from using an excessive amount of breakdowns - although they are present - and have quite a defined and unique presence.
The instrumental intro is decisively important for how it sets a mystical, foreign theme and tone for the album, and you can hear that tone reflected in several parts of each track. The first proper song, "Thousand Words, One Death" opens with a powerful, rousing assault of drums and guitar riffs, and the vocals come in to set the pace. The follow-up instrumental, "Purgatory", gives an aural interpretation of Hell, and sets a dark, gloomy, and foreboding mood for the rest of the album. The title track, "Satan Embryo", is the shortest non-instrumental track on the album, and is just incredible. "Buried in Hell" opens up with a breakdown that lasts a tad too long, but flows back into the rhythm rather nicely afterwards, and the last track - spanning a monstrous time of nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds - is entitled "Mud, Iron, Blood" and is by far the most intense track on the album and one of the most powerful tracks I've heard out of technical death metal. A wild claim? Yes, but you might agree once you've heard it. It's beyond words.
The most remarkable thing this EP accomplishes is that ninety-nine per-cent of the time, the instrumentation is spot-on and I don't tire of hearing it, despite the fact that the drums and guitars are often going at a BPM of at least 260, if not more. The riffs are creative, the drumming is relentless and varied, and the vocals are intensely powerful. My only complaint is that the band borrows its own riffs several times across different songs, and I sometimes imagine what the tracks would be like if they made unique riffs for the entire album. That being said, ninety per-cent of the album isn't repeated, so there's not much to complain about. Satan Embryo is an insanely-powerful, insanely-intense, and insanely-good technical death metal release. It's crazy that this is the band's first release. And it's more crazy that they aren't more well-known.
Enjoy the listen.
The whole damned thing. Alternatively, "Mud, Iron, Blood."