'Endless Asphyxiating Gloom'
(Unspeakable Axe Records/Dark Descent Records)
Whatever the name or album title conjures up in your mind, suggestions of thrash legends Sabbat or hints of Asphyx, the reality is Winnipeg's Sabbatory inhabit a dark abyss somewhere between Morgoth and Celtic Frost.
'Endless Asphyxiating Gloom' may also be their debut full length release, following their 2012 demo but all members are seasoned musicians, including a couple of members of death/thrashsters Besieged so it's an album that's mature and well constructed.
You can expect nothing less than death Metal that harks back to times of old, well the 80s anyway, from this quartet. It's pure old school to the core, the music here is totally stripped down to its basic elements; slightly raw, beautifully dirty, brutal yet simplistic.
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You get tight and gritty guitars, belting out chunky riffs. The percussion is first rate, Dan Ryckman certainly knows his way around the drum kit, playing with both speed and skill, a d-beat fest.
The vocals from Kier Keating are superb also, a tortuous growl that also has a good degree of clarity, these were the two outstanding aspects for me, saying that I certainly can't overlook the great bass work which takes a more prominent position than usual as well as the myriad of well honed riffs and solos from the guitars.
No favourite track as this can and needs to be enjoyed end to end, it's compact and killer at seven tracks and thirty three minutes. Some tracks did stretch past the five minute mark but there is so much going on you would never think them too long.
A healthy, fast pace is maintained across the release, guaranteed to keep your heart racing and your interest on the music. This does not mean that it is flat out fast all the way through, there is plenty of tempo and direction change, particularly on the hugely varied 'Hypnotic Regression'.
You will be shouting "Perplexor" during the superb 'Being, Thy Eternal Perplexor' with its great closing solo. On 'Corrosive Decay' the tempo does drop a little but it is no less intense and there is more room for the inclusion some great drum patterns. The speed and precision of some of the drum work beleaguers belief on 'Infantasy' and there are more shouts of "Oooooohhhhh!!" than Tom G ever fitted into an album across this release.
I also love the art work with its superb Lovecraftian styled theme which visually sums up the title and the music to perfection.
Death Metal doesn't need to be new, ground breaking or unique, just honest and well executed, exactly what 'Endless Asphyxiating Gloom' is.
I think this is a superb album, a fitting nod to the old school bands, executed with enthusiasm and style making it an exciting listen so if you like bands like Death, Repulsion, Bolt Thrower, Autopsy or even old school Swedish death Metal such as Paganizer you should find this of interest. It's like a modern day classic.