May 15, 2017

Excommunion - Thronosis

By Bryan Camphire. In three month's time, one guitarist will have released three of the most intense metal records you're liable to hear this year. Kyle Spanswick plays in three crushingly heavy bands, all of whom are releasing
By Bryan Camphire.

Cover art by Lauri Laaksonen from Desolate Shrine.

In three month's time, one guitarist will have released three of the most intense metal records you're liable to hear this year. Kyle Spanswick plays in three crushingly heavy bands, all of whom are releasing records in rapid succession. April brought us Terra Damnata by Nightbringer. June will deliver us Holókauston by Bestia Arcana. This month we have Thronosis by Excommunion, and what a ferocious record it is.

Excommunion forges blackened death metal sui generis. Thronosis wastes no time boring its way into your skull like trepanation. The first track begins full tilt with drums blasting relentlessly and guitars pummeling the listener into submission. It's striking when a band can make an odd meter seem smooth; yet it's impressive on a whole different level when a band can take a regular time signature and make it feel off kilter. That's what happens during the first minute of the first track, "Twilight of Eschaton". Weird twists and turns abound. But it's at at the one and a half minute mark when things get really interesting. The guitars cough out a single chord down-stroked. The drums crescendo. The entire band drops out. In an instant the full band returns, the bell on the ride cymbal is hammered relentlessly and the riffage erupts into headbang-inducing lighter-raising fury. This destruction barrels forth until the three minute mark. Then the tempo drops, and the group drops out yet again. A start-stop tremolo-picked death-doom riff chugs in like an archaic army collectively heaving a battering ram, splintering everything in its path. The final riff brings things to close combat. The siege has breached the castle walls, and the violence advances forth into unhinged knife-wielding evil. Seven minutes have elapsed and this band has offered forth more intensity in a single song than most groups offer in an entire album.

Thronosis consists of four tracks and clocks in at under a half hour. You'll find no filler material here. The song architectures are calculated with utmost precision and conciseness. There is no room for the mind to wander. It's best to submit to the onslaught and let yourself be led down this record's destructive path. No detail is left to chance. The production is immaculate. The guitar sound calls to mind the venerable tech death masters Sarpanitum. The moshpit-ready blackened death evokes the Spanish masters of the form, Altarage. Yet, with all their start-stop rhythmic complexity, dynamic tempo changes, pick-squealing riffs, weird phrasing and headbang-inducing riffs, Excommunion definitely chart their own territory. Thronosis throws you headlong into a spiraling morass of dizzying ferocious death metal. A half hour spent in this unmitigated darkness will leave you reeling and thirsting for oblivion.

Tagged with 2017, atmospheric black metal, brutal death metal, Bryan Camphire, Dark Descent Records
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