|Cover art by Andrzej Masianis|
On the surface, Omen Ex Simulacra is a journey rendered entirely in gray. This would obviously make it difficult to discern the subtleties present in the music. Indeed, the atmosphere of the record is so thick, so cloying, that it might take the listener a few listens to be able to separate the instruments from the background noise. Then again, calling it "background" seems to be short-changing it, as that is tied to the presentation of these songs just as the down-tuned guitar or the pounding drums.
It is also a study in execution. In previous reviews, I've mentioned how execution seems to be underrated in a time where innovation is prized above all else. However, what we have here in Ævangelist is a band that is innovative and consistent in execution. The artistic vision is rendered undisturbed from the minds and limbs of Thorn and Ascaris to our ears. In fact, these two take their vision so seriously that they have created an insular space wherein they write, record, and produce the music by themselves with no outside interference/assistance. The only thing they don't do is the cover art. Speaking of that, it's another brilliant piece that subtly disgusts with its vague imagery.
New label Debemur Morti calls Thorn and Ascaris "prophets of an alternate death metal". I couldn't agree more. One has to admire Debemur Morti for taking a chance on the band, as well. And once the listener digs through the layers, one might find that the rhythms have been focused, the guitars and drums honed to a sharper edge than on the previous full-length. Ascaris' vocals continue to shine, with the expected death growls and blackened rasps. His voice has a deranged character to it and is immediately recognizable in a crowded field.
The second half of the record (plus bonus track "The Æbelisk") shows a subtle shift toward a more conventional, rhythmic approach. Not that they turn the atmosphere down, necessarily, but it does appear to be pushed back ever so slightly. As a result, a track like "Prayer for Ascetic Misery" practically jumps out of my headphones with a riff unlike any other the band had written to this point. The tritone, an old hand of metal riffs for 40+ years now, makes an appearance and doesn't disappoint.
Ævangelist is one of the true originals in the death metal scene. Their caustic mix of death metal and atmospherics is an adventurous leap forward from the fundamental aspects embodied by countless other bands. Thorn and Ascaris bravely forge ahead, not waiting for the rest of us to catch up.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]