Tech Death Thursday: Edenic Past – Red Amarcord

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What the hell is an Amarcord?


Before we go any further, I’d like to share a snippet of the write-up in the promo material with you:

Edenic Past unfold an absurd and ultra-brutal hallucination of futuristic aural atavism that touches lows of knuckle-dragging sonic primitivism and brutality and peaks of masterful ambient avantgarde deconstructionism that will be both too much to handle or understand for the average “slam” knuckle brains, and too fucking brutal and ignorant for the average elitist prog nerd.

Fucking. Yes. This is how you sell me an album.

And before we go further still, yes, I know this album came out last year- our boy Emester even mentioned them in his top 10– but I hadn’t heard all of it yet until recently (I thought they’d only released that two-song promo), and it’s getting a reissue on Sentient Ruin next week, so technically one could look at this as a new release. If nothing else, it’s new to me, and I’m not above justifying a review on a technicality.

So if you are also hopping on the Edenic Past train as late as I am, you’re in for a treat: this is a brutal death metal project featuring members of Krallice and Encenathrakh, and it’s exactly as wild as you would expect. Colin Marston seems to have caught the Defeated Sanity bug in a bad way having worked on their last album, and playing with Encenathrakh only seems to have amplified it. As such, that promo blurb above is spot on: this is stupid music for smart people, and I mean that in the best way possible.

While Defeated Sanity might indeed be the closest touchstone for Edenic Past’s sound, they’re hardly a clone of the former act. They do share much of the same DNA, particularly in their aural texture (Marston appears to have engineered, mixed, and mastered both Red Amarcord and The Sanguinary Impetus nearly the same way), each band has a distinct approach to this particular niche of progressive brutal death metal. Edenic Past eschews much of the punchy arpeggiation that bands of this style favor, opting instead to go with a hazier, oftentimes slower approach. Those ringing, haunting chords give the music an unsettling atmosphere all its own. I also find Nicholas McMaster’s writing style to be much more cohesive and fluid than a lot of BDM acts. It doesn’t have a lot of those jaunty tempo and feel changes endemic to the genre, and I don’t feel like I have whiplash at every single transition. Not to say that this is necessarily better, but it certainly appeals to my personal sensibilities much more.

As (comparatively) smooth a ride as this album might be in terms of song structure, I don’t want to give the impression that it’s accessible, either. For every big dumb ooga booga slam the band hits you with, they drag you through twice as many passages of blistering fretwork and caustic dissonance. The riffs are wild, and the interplay of guitar and bass in the slower sections make the chords incredibly dense. You’ll find no solace in the vocals, either; Paolo Paguntalan’s guttural croak evokes the likes of Artificial Brain and Demilich, just as harsh as the rest of the music.

Abrasive as this album is, you’ll find it quite rewarding if you’re willing to venture into the furthest reaches of brutal death metal experimentation. Will it be easy? Of course not, but if you’ve made it this far into this review and are still interested, you’re almost certainly going to get some enjoyment out of this. Red Amarcord is out now digitally with a vinyl edition releasing next Friday on Sentient Ruin. Feel free to shame me in the comments for not being up on this on its initial release, and as always,

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