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Ichor - Depths - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 17th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Bastardized Recordings

Big parts of my CD collection can be labelled as traditional or Old School Metal in one way or another. However, to keep things fresh a few more modern sounding records have found their way into my collection as well. Once in a while I feel the need for something with a really thick sound being the musical counterpart of a steam roller. One studio that is known for that kind of polished and unforgiving sound is Hertz. I am sure those guys could even make any AOR band sound brutal and nasty and this release by the German band Ichor is no exception.

The choice of the studio surely was no coincidence as Ichor share a lot of similarities with bands like Vader or Hate. The riffing is absolutely ferocious and includes all kind of break-downs, staccato and tremolo attacks but also more traditional harmonies. The main chords are alternated by going up or down a few key notes throughout the tracks but always stay memorable so that each song has certain signature elements. The lead work is well implemented and consists of a lot of small interludes and a few longer soloing sections. Some of the harmonies have a disturbing and slightly chaotic feeling but they are embedded within the tracks in a way that they perfectly work in the overall context.

The drumming is relentless and keeps the intensity high for the most part. However, Ichor included a lot of parts with mid-tempo grooves giving the consumer a chance to take a breath. While the instrumentation is quite complex the band is helping the passive listener to keep track of what is going with stringent songwriting and straight-forward elements. I can imagine that the most difficult task when playing such a kind of music is to not only showcase technicality and brutality but present actual songs that will leave an impact on the fan. Ichor just managed to do this on quite a few songs although it will take a bit of concentration and more than one spin to fully appreciate what is going on.

A point could be made by saying that the album starts sounding a bit samey in the final third but on the other hand the same could be said about most other albums of the genre. The running time is over 42 minutes which is a bit longer than what can be found on most modern/brutal/technical DM albums.

I can wholeheartedly recommend “Depths” to anyone looking for an intense and brutal musical assault. Rounded off by a classy cover artwork by Pär Olofsson this is an expertly executed and recorded piece of Metal music.

Not Innovative but pretty good nonetheless. - 80%

Akerthorpe, May 8th, 2015

Described as deathcore/death metal, Germany’s Ichor return with their third full-length entitled “Depths”. This is my introduction to this band and not a bad one at that. Monstrous and massive from beginning to end, this band has firmly planted their feet in the fertile soil of the metal underground. There is nothing that really stands out here, but damn, this album is just so thick and heavy! This more than makes up for their lack of pushing the envelope. I’m not saying that them not pushing the envelope is a bad thing, but their style of playing and the way this album was produced and mixed, there was no need for them to push the envelope here. These guys more than got their point across and then some! Total insanity and chaos all the way!

Usually I talk about the guitars first, but this time I must begin by talking about the drums. The drum work here is absolutely insane! It’s not totally complex and intricate, but I swear no grindcore blast beat could hold a candle to the power and passion that is put into the drum work here. Machinegun snares where needed feel like they are taking your head off and the slower tempos and double bass feel like shots to the torso. The precision on the tempo changes is flawless and precise. This is very excellent work from an obviously talented musician. I doubt there are any triggered drums here. If there is it would totally surprise me. The guitars are equally as brutal and sound a lot like the riffs of bands like Carnifex, Malevolent Creation, Deicide, and Nile. There is something that I can’t really put my finger on where the guitars are concerned, though. It almost seems like there is a really heavy Origin influence and vibe going on here but more from a progressive standpoint if that is even possible. In some parts, the guitars have an almost ethereal feel about them. Most notably in the solos. One listen to this CD and I am sure you will understand what I mean. It does not take anything away from the overall feel of this CD, though. If anything it adds a certain amount of intrigue. I believe this is the one “special” touch that the band adds as their own to the type of music that they are playing. Almost as if with this one little aspect of intrigue, that they are trying to blur the lines and blend the genres of deathcore and death metal. If this is so then they’ve done a damn fine job. Everything else here sticks to tradition and does not really waver in one direction or the other.

While this album is an excellent slab of metal brutality, I would like to see them broaden their horizons a little bit. There are so many bands that are playing this type of music, but not a lot of them stand out from the others. I feel that this band has a lot more to offer in the years to come and I don’t want to see them get stuck and become stale because they don’t push boundaries and add more elements that are their own. It is obvious that the talent is there. I just hope they use if to their advantage so that they don’t get lost in the quagmire of these perspective genres. With that being said, this CD is worth getting and listening to as much as possible and as loud as possible. I anxiously await Ichor’s next release as I immensely enjoyed this one. I honestly believe you will too. This album was released on Bastardized Recordings. So check out that label and this band and give them your support!

Promising tech death/deathcore - 79%

Lustmord56, March 24th, 2015

Review originally published at by E.Thomas

I haven’t received any promos from Germany’s’ Bastardized Recordings in years, going back to the likes of Six Reasons to Kill, Deadsoil, Soulgate’s Dawn and Feast for the Crows metalcore days of the mid 00s. But they have been fairly busy since then, if not as productive, including the discography from homeland death metal act Ichor, including, this, the band’s solid third album.

You’d be forgiven if you missed this amid the tech/brutal death onslaught of 2014, and while this has a very slight deathcore vibe, it’s one of those big burly modern death metal records along the lines of Deep In Hate, Fit for An Autopsy, As You Drown, The Red Shore, Those Who Lie Beneath, Aversion’s Crown and such. It’s hardy original and when compared to the slew of quality 2014 releases, nor does not stand out, but on its own merit, its a solid modern death metal record.

Like most of the mechanized modern death metal, the band still has some old school hues such as Vader and Behemoth pulsing under the mechanized, polished assault, just with added heft and speed, but it’s never completely over processed or sterile as with some of their peers. And like Soreption, a few tiny orchestral and more controlled spurts litter the otherwise brutal proceedings that are littered with unrelenting brute force, breakdowns and dual vocals such as “Apophis”, “The Beasts Approach”, “Deny Your God”,” and “Ra’iroa” which all deliver big, commanding, churning, merciless salvos.

But it’s those few moments where some promise shows through the relentlessness blasting, as shown on “Leviathan", rare slow burner “Desire of the Depths” or the more varied standouts “While Giants Sleep”, and epic 6 and a half minute closer, “Hadal Sirens” where you can see a damn good band ripping through the deathcore/modern death metal cliches.