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Advent of Bedlam - Human Portal Phenomenon

Advent of Bedlam
Human Portal Phenomenon
by Martin Knap at 07 May 2018, 1:39 PM

When Costa Rica gets mentioned one tends to think about sunny beaches and salsa, not about death metal. But in the tropical paradise's dark underbelly we find bands as grim and evil as they come. I’ve only really listened to one Costa Rican band named CORPSE GARDEN before and I must say that their 2017 release “Iao 269” was one of my last year’s favorite death metal album. ADVENT OF BEDLAM, who actually share one member with CORPSE GARDEN, are another band who are putting Costa Rican metal on the map. Unlike their compatriots from CORPSE GARDEN, who play dark, twisted, almost psychedelic Death Metal inspired by INCANTATION, ADVENT OF BEDLAM play a style of Death Metal that is more on the technical side. Their sound is variously described as melodic/technical Death Metal and Blackened Death Metal, and there is truth to both these descriptions.

First of all let me say that they don’t play modern Tech-Death a là NECROPHAGIST who kind of set the standard for Tech Death riffing with its abundant use of diminishing cords and arpeggios. ADVENT OF BEDLAM draws a lot from early Tech Death pioneers SUFFOCATION and perhaps CRYPTOPSY, but they are technical also due to the fact that they constantly transition from one riff another in their songs. Their riffs are not “techy” in themselves, but the song constantly shift from one riff to another in a way that might be called technical. There is also a really wide stylistic variety among the riffs: the songs can go from brutal and groovy to the icy, evil atmospherics of Scandinavian Black Metal. That’s certainly not something you hear every day, but does it work? Lets find out.

First song “Olympus Mons” gives the listener time to get into the groove, but than it goes shifts to full-on SUFFO brutality, the chorus has a bit DISSECTION-y feeling to it. A rather interesting mix. “Born of Synapses” brings in some INCANTATION-like murkiness with a bit of Tech Death flare and all this is sprinkled with melodic Black Metal riffs. “The Ever Watchful Eye” shifts between a menacing groovy riff in the verse that sounds a lot like HYPOCRISY to me, and a melodic tremolo picked riff in the chorus. The blast beats and the vocals in the chorus combined with the riffing almost remind me of CRADLE OF FILTH. There are other songs that transition from Death Metal to full-on Black Metal in a quite surprising manner, like “A Human Farm” on the third minute mark. “The Vanishing” also goes from murky grinding in the verse to a very melodic tremolo picked riff in the chorus and you could almost say that the chorus has a melodic hook. The problem is that the song doesn’t build up to such a sudden melodic outburst, and in consequence the chorus feels a bit out of place.

That is my problem in general with ADVENT OF BEDLAM. The way they put together these riffs that are very different in nature makes their songs feel sometimes a bit disjointed and unfocused. There is a reason why Death Metal and Black Metal grew apart over the time, and I feel like here the styles are kind of forced together. But if you’re willing to go along with what ADVENT OF BEDLAM are doing it can be a good ride. More often then not they are able to “pull it off” and make the songs work which shows how skilled they are as musicians.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Human Portal Phenomenon
2. Olympus Mons
3. Born of Synapses
4. The Ever Watchful Eye
5. A Liar's Spit
6. A Human Farm
7. The Vanishing
8. Crown of Greed
9. Comstockery
10. Vultures of the World
Lineup:
Max Gutierrez – Guitars
Roy Zumbado – Vocals
Fabian Salas – Guitars
Joseph Villalta – Bass
Luis Ortiz – Drums
Record Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
     


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Edited 25 June 2018
 

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