If ever an extreme Metal album had something for everyone it would be 'Enraptured By Suffering', the second full length release, following 2011s brutal offering, 'Storms Of Genocide from Helmsplitter.
Formed by Ross Mallie and Nate Boyd in 2008, the quintet from Rock Island, Illinois blends a myriad of Metal genres seamlessly in a way that is unprecedented.
'Enraptured By Suffering' is a cocktail of black, sludge, doom and death Metal with elements of crust punk, thrash and even a hint of blues but in a way you would not expect to hear it. They encompass the intensity of Swedish black Metal in the vein of Marduk, with a raw dirty crust punk edge and give it a stoner groove resulting in an overall sound that is heavy and unpredictable, a fascinating listen and an assault on the senses.
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The concept seems unwieldy and messy but it's not, it flows naturally and organically resulting in a sound that is unforced yet intense and a highly compelling listen.
Lyrically they take you on a journey through a world of misanthropy, pain, frustration and despair and the lyrics are delivered with excellent clarity by Blakk (Angelkill, ex: Mortuary Oath, ex: Maskim) whose powerful vocals, which range between harsh roars and throaty deep screams, are superb.
The rest of the musicianship is equally as impressive, but it needs to be to pull this feat off, the way Nate Boyd on drums switches from blasts to D-beats and throws in all manner of patterns, subtle yet rich bass lines from Lyndon Ehlers and the myriad of complex riffs and depth of sound that adds a completely new dimension to the concept from such a broad spectrum of styles from the two guitarists, Ross Mallie and Jason Grevas.
The album consists of eleven tracks encompassing forty-three minutes, opening like a torrent with blasting drum work, it's blackened and intense from start of opening track 'Tyrants for Blood' but a minute in and you are plunged into a doom rich bleak-scape only to be faced with anther tempo shift a minute later and the whole album continues in this vein switching and surprising you at every turn.
I am not even going to begin to try and pick a favourite, each track having its own unique quality and stand out aspect; 'Panzram' which switches from black and thrash to a stoner groove while 'Aura Of Suicide' which is predominantly intense and blackened with a dirty edge, plunging regularly into dirty, groovy doom.
'Burden Of Our Existence' is plodding, distorted and doom laden to open, mixed with a stoner groove that sounds intriguing alongside the brutal vocals, whipping up briefly in to a thrash frenzy midway while 'Dance Of The Heretic' has a magnificently off kilter opener.
'World So Wicked', with its dirty stoner groove, 'Portrait of Scars', a blackened and intensely insane track while 'The Ground Bleeds Sorrow' has a fabulous mid tempo, sexy, dirty, stoner groove mixed with dirty, death/thrash.
'Forged In Fire' is a winding blend of dirty black, thrash and doom and 'Days Of Loathing' has a vast array of catchy and varied riffs and a sexy groove but the insane closing minute is something else completely.
The opener on final track 'Summon The Leeches' has an ominous and rather scary feel and the arrival of the vocal roar makes the hair stand on the back of your neck, by Helmsplitter's standard probably the most straightforward track and a superb blackened album ender. If the rest of the album wasn't so good this might have been my favourite.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Scott Creekmore 'Enraptured By Suffering' is an album with something for everyone and would certainly appeal to fans of Morbid Angel, Darkthrone, Malevolent Creation, Goatwhore and Marduk, to name a few.
Listen or buy the MP3 at http://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/enraptured-by-suffering or a physical copy at http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/store/hpgd080.html.