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Deconstructing Dogma - 83%

Five_Nails, August 31st, 2018

Bleak and barbaric, Construct of Lethe creates worlds of cataclysm governed by furious fates and overwhelming oblivion obfuscating its open originality with a haze that drains the color from the land and the living. In a twisted underworld where a guide wearing an azure-plumed hat gazes down the left hand path toward the sea on which subsists a writhing mass frozen in its romantic frenzy, this confinement on the edge of unreason brings the horrified humans to a hopeless realization. There is no salvation as even the Christian visage, crowned in thorns, wails in despair as he demeans himself by reaching out in deference to his new god.

Where a first listen would easily draw comparisons to the dismal crush of Immolation, Construct of Lethe thoroughly explores its confinement with rich and obsessive precision, finding splendid sorts of intrigue in every dingy corner to unearth a new truth of its island while supping from the dark waters of amnesia surrounding it. A churning of constant terror brings itself out even more horrifically when obfuscated by the bewilderment of amnesiac disorientation. This is no oasis, no life-bringing land from which to unburden the confined, but a place of squalor and screams where the fates seek to strip every semblance of sanity from their quarry as the Stygian passage opens to the paths of horror awaiting their true judgment by long ignored deities.

Throughout its bleak forty and a half minutes, moments of color rise, like the cloaked Hermes reveling in his own deified halo as he sets to the light-bringing task of diverting even the son of another god to an Olympian underworld. The confusion, betrayal, and bewilderment show themselves through the hallucinations in “Fugue State”. The liberation from dogmatic principles as holy suns abate comes in sweeping guitars clawing out of blindness and escaping the cradle of madness in blasting fits of “A Testimony of Ruin”, and the rolling reversal, an Immolation mainstay that inverts convention and sensibility in favor of a plummeting pummeling sound, makes “The Clot” hammer a heart into submission.

The Greco-Roman imagery and mixtures of Latin and Greek language in the lyrics accentuate the inescapable darkness throughout 'Exiler', one caused on Earth by the condemned Christ and his cohort now wailing among the insignificant mass, capturing a dauntingly detailed and unapproachably undulating atmosphere where confusion and captivity create a chaotic mindset manically manifesting myths and terrors. Such flights of fancy fantastically reflect the “Fugue State” across the entire album, endlessly blurring the lines between reality and imagination in order to further forge fear in its every aspect.

The opening in “Rot of Augury” is a strong misdirection, laying its melodic soloing with a bevy of blasting behind it as though calmly guiding sheep into a meat grinder. Stabs of soloing in “Soubirous” bring a moment of calm before fresh tortures are unleashed, taking the tone of the album to glimpse the sanctity of Elysium before being subjected to the “Terraces of Purgation” where puking in the background, angels abominably apostatizing, and Latin chanting create a scene as scary as it is goofy. Nilotic pinches ensure that riffing and lilting guitar moments stay fresh and challenging, brash soloing and varied riffing atop an ever-refreshing cavalcade of drumming pay homage to Morbid Angel as the closing song, “Fester in Hesychasm” shows a band with the stamina and range to expansively explore its esoteric notions. This construct is truly horrifying.

Originally Hosted on “The Pit of the Damned”: