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Surrealism after Death? That’s the Question... - 86%

bayern, June 19th, 2017

Although the guys call their music “surrealist death metal”, this is technical death metal, quite well done at that, one that hasn’t quite gone into the surrealist dimensions. The band shred by the canons of the genre, not transcending them that much, but there’s very little to complain listening to the debut which is a smashing exhibition of technical guitar wizardry, an aural spectacle which placed the band right next to pillars like Sadist, Illogicist, Gory Blister, and Coram Lethe in their homeland. Although surrealism is not “a stranger” to the Italian metal scene, I would personally associate it with the works of the more left-hand-path outfits like Psychofagist, Garden Wall, Ephel Duath, and Incoming Cerebral Overdrive than with the more scholastic death metal movement.

However, on the album reviewed here things go towards a certain not very clearly charted territory suggested from the very opener “The Sublimation” which twisted riffs gell well with the soaring melodies and the more orthodox melo-death background; the brilliant atonal rhythms in the second half could have been elongated a bit, though, cause now they sink way too easily into the sea of dexterous leads that follow suit. “Into the Keyhole” tries to squeeze as many riffs as possible into “a keyhole” which appears to be big enough to contain fast-paced overlapping riffage and twisted progressive arrangements ala Anata. “Ice, Smoke and Horses” speeds up from the get-go recalling the Canadians Quo Vadis with quiet balladic breaks bringing loads of tranquillity more or less expectedly; the band have no problems restoring the fast-paced domination although these serene interruptions take quite a bit of space. “What Chimera” has the same hyper-active inauguration with fast lashing riffs evoking a dash of surreality in league with slower stomping deviations and fabulous stylish lead sections, not to mention the balladic respites again.

The guys probably overdo it a bit in the balladic sector after “Quibblings” which is 4-min of peaceful lead-driven quietude; Salvador Dali may like idyllic tunes of the kind, but not the death metal maniacs who will line up for “Sophisticated Telescopes”, but only after the balladic deviation at the beginning is over; technical death metal fury comes pouring over the listener who may smile benignly on the following “Golden Waterfalls Part IX”, another laid-back exhibition of lead guitar histrionics, and much more widely on “Golden Waterfalls Part VI”, 2-min of exemplary dazzling brutality echoing Cryptopsy. “To Rust the Rust” tries to match its predecessor in terms of intensity, but soon do the more laid-back digressions arrive, the approach coming close to later-period Death including on the speedier accumulations, the latter overwritten by gorgeous melodic hooks that give a deeply atmospheric operatic feel to the ending.

The integration of lyrical, shall I also say romantic, embellishments into the technical death metal template isn’t anything new, but here the band go over-the-top, by all means aiming at some particular niche, but kind of forgetting what the main purpose of their chosen field is. If their debut was a nearly immaculate display of technical death metal done right, here the guys branch out into a more progressive, also decidedly more melodic field which doesn’t rely on death metal’s ferocious bite anymore. This could have been the guys’ way to answer to the genre’s diversification campaign that started around the same time, but it may have just been a more introspective period for them… questions and wonderings. Not to worry, the third instalment would provide quite a few answers, mind you, and it would also show how far beyond death the band can reach. Cause not far ahead of it lies a huge untapped pool of surreality…