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Successfully Unorthodox - 85%

boboy, April 18th, 2013

With their debut EP, Scotland's Acatalepsy submit a forceful petition to the growing roster of eccentric UK metal artists. Of course, eccentricity is not talked of here in a derogatory sense, especially within an extreme metal scene that has become as dreary and derivative as the UK's. Acatalepsy's self titled disc is a tour-de-force of unorthodox and challenging death metal, blending compositional technicality with oppressive atmospheric overtones beautifully.

The haunting freeform jazz opening to Expisis eases into proceedings, before bursting at the seams to reveal the backbone of Acatalepsy's crawling, doom laden sound. Amidst the pounding sledgehammer chords, convulsing guitar phrases are interspersed, harking back to the likes of Immolation for just a moment, before disappearing again beneath the lurching doom death leviathan.

Quotidyst opens up the sound somewhat to more accessible grooves and progressions that are as close to conventional riffing as the band come, but even in this form, the sound is unique enough to pique even the most curmudgeonly listener's interest.

The track Ardeist Nightmare lives up to its name, writhing along like a formless terror, and dispensing with any tangible repetitive structure altogether, in favour of obtuse chugging and scathing mid paced blasts. The deep vocal bellows vary little across the play time, but are as resonant and intimidating as Craig Pillard's most cavernous performances with Incantation or Disma.

If I were to have one criticism here (and there is little to criticise) it is that the production of this EP is far too pristine to carry off the menacing musical content of this disc. There is very little bass, and the glistening guitars stand proud at the front of the mix. If a bit more mystery and haziness in this department could be dialled in, Acatalepsy's meandering compositional style would certainly reap the benefits. Here hoping that a full length with these minor tweaks incorporated appears at some point.