Album Premiere: Sepolcral – Scourge
Trials, tribulations, and precious few triumphs beset the history of Sepolcral. Originally formed as a death metal band in 1993, they were off to a good start, soon finding themselves on the roster of label Nosferatu with their debut album Victims set to release in 1997. If you’ve never heard of Nosferatu, that’s because they went broke a long time ago—shortly before the release of said debut, in fact. The next 20 years for Sepolcral saw a temporary name change, a hiatus, the death of the original vocalist, a flurry of lineup changes, and then, finally, the release of Victims in 2017.
Anyone might be forgiven for throwing in the towel after that kind of ride, but 2017 also saw a sign of renewed life from the band in the form of the new track “Broken Armour.” A far cry from both the ’90s death metal of Victims and the bouncy material of the 2015 EP Reborn 6, it presented a first glimpse of what the band is finally ready to present in full this week: non-stop deathgrind brutality, aka Scourge. If you’d like to dip your toes in first, here’s the recently released video for “White Venom Temple.”
Scourge covers a very satisfying breadth between its two main components; fans of both cut-and-dry grind like Misery Index and meatier, more death-leaning material à la Aborted should find plenty to like here. Straight to the point and offering very little respite for the listener, the album still manages not to feel like a pointless bludgeoning, thanks in part to its sub-30 minute runtime, but moreso its great songwriting.
I had not yet received the band quote when I wrote that paragraph, but it turns out we are very much in agreement:
“‘Scourge’ is a word that perfectly sums up our new stylistic direction. For this new record we looked for a raw and cutting sound and for a frantic and merciless songwriting. Each song is quite straightforward while maintaining a dynamic and diverse approach. It sounds like a mix of grind, death metal, black metal dissonances and hardcore: each of us is fully showing his own background and the result is a rabid beast of an album which will be super fun to play live.”
Standouts for me are “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit,” the crazy one-two punch of “Flagello” and the aformentioned “Broken Armour,” and the awesome “The Miserable Choice,” but I think you’ll find that there’s no snoozer in the bunch. Please enjoy the results of 30 years of persistence.