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Convulse - Inner Evil - 50%

ThrashManiacAYD, January 26th, 2013

Little did I know when reviewing "World Without God" three years ago that old school Finnish brutal death metallers Convulse were about to join the reformation wagon. I noted how the re-release of the album showcased a very heavy and dark DM band but one that ultimately possessed nothing ground-breaking; now over 20 years later with only 2 of the original 4 members back in the band, we have a curiously short 2-track EP, "Inner Evil". Why only 2 tracks and 12 minutes of music you ask? I wish I knew. Surely some other material could have been tacked on to make this more worthwhile?

For what we have though is a performance surprisingly similar to the old material but in a production that if anything is a little blunter. "Inner Evil" starts slowly in 11th Hour-styled death/doom before breaking a minute in to Asphyx-ian territories of hazardous death metal. The callousness of Rami Jämsä's vocals remain - he gargles sandpaper in his churn pushing the end result to a greater degree of brutality. The swirling riffs that follow his chorus vocal lines in "Inner Evil" make an impression from the first listen (not always something that can be said about death metal) although the long Entombed-esque outro the song could have reduced to increase the song's overall potency. "God Is Delusion" begins acoustically before the charge of drums and grunts arrive - the metallic thud of the snare drum is a notable goregrind touch that I could do without - but the song overall mixes downcast moments of doom in fairly neatly with the medium tempo on it's flipside. Gentle and fluid solos abound, the final two minutes drag before that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. Moments of interest are there for the intrigued, but why could we not have had more?

Originally written for

If the tomb fits, wear it - 70%

autothrall, January 25th, 2013

Convulse is another case of an early death metal act which has, in the wake of a long-term absence, developed an enormous following due to the fact that their debut, World Without End hits all the right notes with the latest generations of fans seeking out the crushing, atmospheric, authenticity that used to run rabid in the genre during the earlier half of the 90s. One could certainly not argue that the widespread proliferation of the internet has bolstered the Finns' audience, and the cult tatters of legend status began to circulate around their name. Fast forward 18 years after their more divisive sophomore Reflections (which saw a marginal shift in sound) and we've got the inevitable reunion material, and already I've seen a number of early listeners citing disappointment...

Yes, you guessed it: these new tracks are not EXACTLY World Without End 2.0, but really, what would any sane individual expect? Convulse was a group which had already moved on from that precise aesthetic before embarking on their nearly two-decade hiatus. To their credit, and to the relief of many who will hear this with fresh ears, I think the Finns have done a pretty damn good job of updating their old sound. The fundamental songwriting here is not at all unlike that of those formative years, and the major differences come in terms of production, which feels cleaner and perhaps a fraction less ominous than the debut. Otherwise, the guitars still have a lot of that sodden groove to them, sullen lapses into death/doom sequences, and ruddy streams of mutes which still churn, even without that muddy and swamp-like tone of olde. Coupled with evil, archaic death metal melodies (like those late in "Inner Evil" itself) or the brute, brunt gutturals of Rami Jämsä, the EP absolutely recycles its ancient inspirations, both musically and lyrically. Hell, "God is Delusion" is more or less a spiritual successor to the title track or "Godless Truth" from World Without End, and it remains pretty clear: you won't be meeting with these dudes at Bible Studies on the next Sabbath.

I did feel that there was a small gulf here between the quality of two tracks. "Inner Evil" is the more direct and pummeling of the pair, but I felt the more atmospheric fulfillment of "God Is Delusion" was superior, from the great acoustic intro to the somber, mourning melodies which permeate its slower hooks. The latter simply sticks with me longer. Once in awhile the band will pull off a riff or two which just doesn't seem all that interesting, and overall there is not a whole lot of creativity here, which I would think might actually satisfy a certain portion of the purist audience who want their death delivered with no frills, dressings, or progression. But ultimately, I thought these two tunes were above average, keeping me interested at least past a few spins. The bass is fluid and fragrant with the din of rot-blossoming corpses, the drums keep a great pace with some really organic fills and primitive blasts for the faster sequences, the guitars rich and chunky. The vocals are a bit monotonous but to be truthful I felt this way also of their debut. Fitting to the tunes, but a bit more character and less predictability would enhance the experience.

I feel like I had a reaction to this EP comparable to how I felt about the latest Incantation full-length, if not nearly so positive or pronounced: it's the same band, only tidier and more matured through the seasons, but they're still playing the music true to themselves. If Convulse can create a proper album with at least this level of songwriting, I don't see how that could be a bad thing, and supporters of that old Finnish axis of evil which also includes Demigod and Demilich should not be too turned off. Decent stuff.