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From Forgotten Worlds - 80%

theBlackHull, January 13th, 2013

Unleashing their black Lovecraftian assault upon the Great White North, young Vancouver’s Auroch has the ability to conjure extreme metal and demonic horrors altogether. A first full length album after a series of demos and splits in the trash genre, From Forgotten Worlds is the band stepping loudly into the death metal realm.

Blackened death metal has never been my cup of tea, although I know my classics and listen from time to time to icons like Deicide, Vader, Morbid Angel, or Possessed. When it comes to more recent bands in the Behemoth or Hate Eternal trends, I often get saturated after a few tracks, and never make it through a full album. Therefore, it was both a surprise and a delight to hear Auroch, and to taste the pure blood running through their vein. Songs like “Dregs of Sanity”, or “Terra Akeldama”, for example, show clear influences of early Deicide in their guitar arrangements and vocal patterns.

There are many reasons why From Forgotten Worlds is a relatively easy album to listen to from start to finish. The first reason is that, since Slayer released Reign in Blood, we now know that an album can be short and still be perfect, as long as it’s 100% efficient. From Forgotten Worlds has only 8 songs and clocks at 35 minutes, but every song are excellent and complement each other. There are those that catch your attention immediately, like “Slaves to a Flame Undying” or the title track, some more straightforward like “Pathogenic Talisman (For Total Temporal Collapse)”, and other songs that need a few listen to reveal themselves as the true gems of the album, like “Fleshless Ascension (Paths of Dawn)” or “Tundra Moon”. All in all, these slight variations of extreme death metal tonalities provide just enough balance to maintain the listener’s attention without compromising the focus of the album.

Another reason why From Forgotten Worlds is a pleasant journey is the craftsmanship of the album itself. If the trash metal roots of Auroch weight in considerably – for the best –, it helps reveal the organic and ‘true’ character of metal in the blackened death genre. Guitars are fast and abrasive; vocals are a loud growl shouted from the throat or sometimes accompanied by a higher pitch (“Bloodborne Conspiracy”); while the drum is incredibly fast, somehow closer to early Kataklysm or Gorguts, and wisely showcased at the forefront of the music like Cryptopsy. There isn’t any use of triggers in the mix, and guitars are flowing naturally as if they were recorded in a single take. This element of honesty brings a bombastic, adrenalized, muscle-burning attack to the album. A case in point, opening track “From Forgotten Worlds” changes speed a few times without ceremony – seemly ignoring the Holy Metronome so precious in today’s studio productions – with the ballsy result of sounding as clever as any complicated time signature. In other words, by revisiting the roots of death metal, Auroch created an album that sounds incredibly fresh.

This music breathes anger and sweats horror. It would be an error not to mention the beautiful artwork showcased on the cover of the album, for we find here some dark imaginary architecture that would nicely fit one of Lovecraft’s short stories. Such an effort to bind the monochromatic music and the visual qualities of the lyrics has proven to be very rewarding, as it reflects all the qualities of this monstrous marriage, consumed by the shadows…

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