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Invocation - Attunement to Death - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, May 22nd, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Iron Bonehead Productions (Limited edition)

Black/death metal from Chile and Iron Bonehead, what could possibly go wrong? Not much and so it should not come as a real surprise that “Attunement to Death” is another masterclass of obscure and bleak, yet also highly captivating music. Having been formed in 2015 this outfit has released a single, a demo and one EP before this one. While technically sold as EP you get over half an hour of music, which is more than e.g. the latest Witch Vomit had to offer, so this one is easily worth the money asked for.

The main chords here are very stoic and the guitar lines have a certain feeling of monotony. Taking into consideration that we are talking about only five songs averaging 6 minutes the album tends to turn into a conglomerate of riffs and eerie sound pieces, leaving the listener a bit lost at times. That might sound a bit negative, but the atmospheric and sinister soundscapes in combination with the rumbling bass and the straight pounding of the drums lead to a result that is a very hypnotic and stringent piece of music. The trademark riffs are repeated over and over again, but they are often slightly varied, making the tracks sound a bit similar at first, but during consecutive listens a lot of small twists can be discovered. One just has to look beneath the basic surface of the music to detect these subtle details.

The guys from Invocation have a great feeling for keeping a steady groove. They know exactly when to slow down the tempo and how to implement a few rhythm changes to ensure a certain factor of freshness. There are some soloing sections, but nothing too technical or overblown. Those parts sometimes work as transition between faster and slower pieces. Overall the main focus is on delivering a nihilistic and sinister atmosphere, but the music still has enough aggression and well thought-out patterns to satisfy fans of traditional extreme metal. The haunting vocals ranging from raspy growls to slightly blackish screams perfectly underline the intense and gloomy character of the music.

The guitar work is fantastic, switching between stoic and brooding parts and faster and more aggressive sections. There is a certain melodic factor in the music, but not so much at the surface, more subtly woven into the overall sound. There are a few crawling pieces where the slightly melancholic guitar sound helps creating an eerie and depressing atmosphere. This is dark and moody music and while I am not talking about anything like ambient death metal “Attunement to Death” might not be the best fit for anyone looking for some catchy and fun music. However, some of the harmonies and haunting melodies are outstanding and are going to drag the listener into to the void. Melancholic and trippy guitar harmonies are often dwelling in the background, while the stoic and hypnotic basic chords are responsible for a dense atmosphere. The fascinating chord progressions are accompanied by hypnotic trademark lead lines defining the character of each single song.

Lovers of catchy and more casual metal might find this boring and start to look elsewhere. While this is for sure not the kind of music I could listen to each and all day, I highly appreciate the mood Invocation are able to create, leading to a satisfying listening experience under the right circumstances. The production offers just the right mixture of clarity and dirt. While each instrument is clearly audible and the overall sound has enough power there is a certain level of rawness making this album a blast to listen to. This is putrid and cavernous metal done right that should be loved by any fan of the genre. Highly recommended.