ECHELON EXPLORE UNCHARTED DEPTHS WITH 'THE BRIMSTONE AGGRANDIZEMENT'
The debut release, 'Indulgence Over Abstinence Behind The Obsidian Veil' from Death Metal outfit Eschelon, co-masterminded by the dark and deadly duo, Dave Ingram (Hail Of Bullets, Down Among The Dead Men, ex-Bolt Thrower ex-Benediction) and Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, Ribspreader, Down Among The Dead Men) was a dark, intriguing and superb listen but for the follow-up, 'The Brimstone Aggrandizement', the pair take things a step further.
Alongside classic signature elements of the duo found on the first release, the sound has been further bolstered by the addition of Johan Berglund (Ribspreader, Demiurg, The Grotesquery) on bass, Kjetil Lynghaug (Johansson and Speckmann, Paganizer) on lead guitar and Travis Ruvo (Cropsy Maniac and Akatharta) on drums to the line-up.
And it has been, in particular, the contributions from Kjetil in the shape of some superb lead work, particularly on 'The Forbidden Industry', 'Of Warlocks And Wolves' and 'The Feared Religion', which has brought an interesting new facet to this release.
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I was drawn in completely from start to finish with this album. It's an addictive, compelling and well varied listen and as Dave uttered the opening lines. "Benevolence - compassion comes in to play, Abominable humanity, The altruistic plague," the hair on the back of my neck stood on end, a shiver raced down my spine and my blackened heart soared with joy.
It is a deep and dark album, like the predecessor, but this time more so, much more dark and esoteric and lyrically it speaks volumes.
The inclusion of some cheeky sound-bites slipped in here and there reflect aspects of Dave's interests and personality, making the album both serious and playful, particularly on the closing piece, 'Monsters In The Gene Pool/Sonic Vortex', but there's possibly also a deeper message to the soundbites chosen and the order they are arranged, if you are able to understand that message.
It's hard to pick a favourite track on an album of this calibre, but if I had to choose a favourite it would be 'The Feared Religion' as it has superb lead work, a dark underlying groove, a galloping pace and a lyric that speak volumes. The lyrical content is strong across all the tracks, as is the musicianship and Dave had taken his vocals a step further with an even greater focus on his intonation and extension of delivery, in places drawn out the way the great Kam Lee delivers, particularly on 'The Forbidden Industry' with dramatic effect and there's also plenty of classic Rogga riffing throughout so I'm doubly happy.
I can't end without also mentioning 'Lex Talionis' which has utterly beautiful, haunting and emotive lead work alongside the catchy groove and brutal vocals, or once again 'Of Warlocks And Wolves' with its addictive haunting melody from which the sublime second half lead work explodes forth or title track 'The Brimstone Aggrandizement' with its 'diabolical' undertone overlaid by superb, subtly off-kilter lead work.
'The Brimstone Aggrandizement' will be released on Indian record label Transcending Obscurity on 22nd December from the Official Echelon Bandcamp as CD and digital. The album artwork was specifically commissioned from the artist Propraetor.