California's Acephalix continue their journey to the heart of darkness via classic European Death Metal and savage crust. The guitar tone is more putrid than before, the growls more sepulchral than pretty much anything. It sounds...dangerous.
'Deathless Master' is pretty uniform in its virulent pace and tone throughout; the dynamic that propels the album is a progressing intensity and boiling over. In the first half, you get most of your memorable riffs and pit pleasers. 'Tomb of our Fathers' has one of those 0-3-2-1 riffs that melt goats and the title track has a fist pumping chorus with tom hits emphasising each syllable. Later on, things get ever more frostbitten and malevolent (the repugnant lead that opens 'Hunger' could strip paint).
The crust element is employed less conspicuously than on previous releases but the attitude is still there; where many a DM band would shift from a dominant theme into clinical double kick and intertwining lead parts, Acephalix go for a more primal punk attack. It really works in driving things along, and makes for a more personal...ah, it just sounds cooler than a load of showing off. Endless depictions of gore set to highly technical aggression can eventually leave me a little cold and distant; this is right up in my face, with a literate, arcane undercurrent.
It's worth remarking on the importance of vocalist Dan in the sound of this record. A huge, burping Sarlacc pit, his voice is an instrument in itself, forming the cesspool in which the music floats. It's not as if 'Deathless Master' is just an extreme splurge; there are classic moments: 'Raw Life' has one of those churning riffs I'm convinced I've heard before, it's so instant and definitive.
This is a really consistent release; a stygian monument. After 8 tracks, I wanted more. There's not much more you could ask of a band like Acephalix, though I'm sure they'll find ways to further heighten the necrosis.
Posted: Wed 6 June 2012