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Impure Conception > Erosion of Vitality > Reviews > NecroMetallist
Impure Conception - Erosion of Vitality

A demo that scratches many itches - 95%

NecroMetallist, May 14th, 2024

Death metal, especially in recent years, has seen a massive resurgence in the so-called "caveman" style, essentially comprised of bands creating some rather primitive forms of brutal death metal that emulates the same kind of sound you'd hear in the 1990s. Now while I am an enjoyer of those bands, more namely groups like 200 Stab Wounds, Tomb Sentinel and other notables, a good number of those bands in the new wave are lacking a lot of charm that went so naturally with the earliest incarnations of brutal death. This is where Impure Conception, a Pennsylvania based death metal band, comes in to bring back that charm.

Just from face value, you can already tell this demo is a well informed piece of music, meaning that the instant call back to bands like Mortal Decay and Damonacy are ever present. The design of the album art just screams that 90s occultish, eldritch vibe that many death metal bands were adopting back in the day. It's simple artistry that has a lot to tell in terms of its concept.

I can't do this review justice without having to mention the formidable guitarwork displayed on this release. There's genuinely so much variety to the riffs it'd take me an entire decade just to talk about one particular section of a song, but I'm a bastard for dissecting bits of music and giving off my own interpretation of the musicianship. It's very clear that Caleb Warren is a font of knowledge when it comes to death metal, because he treats his listeners to a large plethora of thrashy riffs, powerful solos that add a sinister feel to the overall sound, and plenty of slams and hard hitting beatdowns that sound like they were taken right out of both Mortal Decay and Ripping Corpse's handbook. This is part of the charm which I feel a lot of bands nowadays seem to lack. It's all well and good having some nasty slam riffs and thuggish beatdown chugs, but if you're going to meld death metal into the mix you need to bring in the elements properly I feel, and Impure Conception does this correctly.

The second key element of the release is Jimmy Forster's vocals (love you long time Jimmy). It's safe to say we have a Frank Paoline Hendershaw on our hands with this release, because out of the many brutal death metal releases, I've never actually heard one dude go from Internal Bleeding to Mortal Decay to Scattered Remnants in one sitting. It's done so seamlessly you end up forgetting it's one guy doing the vocal work and that it ain't 3 bdm legends collabing together on one release. If ignorance defeats talent then Jimmy has maintained the talent and brought in more ignorance. The low gutturals are decipherable but they still sound incredibly monstrous, and those high screams are pure nightmare fuel. We need more banshee highs in death metal, fuck all that goblin shite.

The third most important aspect of the release is the drumming performed by session drummer Terry Johnson, whom I believe they should take on as a full time member because he's incredibly dedicated to his craft and he knows what he's doing. Going with the riffs, Johnson grooves, gallops and blasts a few like there's no tomorrow. It's all carefully executed as well rather than seeming force or phoned-in.

The last two elements are short but sweet. The first being the bass. It's a weird one with this aspect because its presence can be felt, but overall it's drowned beneath the music so it serves more as an enigmatic elements rather than being at the forefront, which is okay to be honest. The second element is the lyrics. There's no officially published lyrics as of yet, but going by the song titles and the overall concept of the demo, it's safe to say the lyrics tell some morbid tales of human sacrifices, gory eldritch atrocities and different concepts revolving around death. Poetically gruesome justice is probably the best way I could describe such concepts on a release this fresh.

In my honest opinion, this demo is an important piece of artistry that many fans wanting to explore death metal more need to pay more attention to. There's so much this demo does that many others are lacking in certain departments. I wouldn't go as far as to compare this to Maggot Stomp roster bands or similar caveman emulators, because that isn't the intent of this demo. However I can't see why fans of bands like Kommand, 200 Stab Wounds, Gates To Hell and other mosh friendly wouldn't be into Erosion of Vitality. This release leaves the caveman shit in the background to a minimal level and prioritises the sheer brutality of classic, hard hitting death metal. I'd definitely put this release up there with Final Resting Place's Prelude to Extinction, for both aesthetic and musical execution purposes. It's thuggish, it's putrid, it's talented and it's fucking ignorant. Don't sleep on this release, you won't be disappointed.