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Construct Of Lethe - Exiler Award winner

Construct Of Lethe
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 25 June 2018, 4:46 AM

Virginia’s CONSTRUCT OF LETHE actually began life as a way for guitarist Tony Petrocelly to release music for previous bands that broke up before proper recordings could be made.  From there, it grew into its own beast…and it is still growing today.  Much like the band itself, “Exiler” is an album that is built upon a punishing foundation of Death Metal that expands and grows.  The atmosphere of this album is incredible, due in no large part to the impeccable production.  Much like IMMOLATION’s “Harnessing Ruin,” and BEHEMOTH’s “The Satanist,” the album sounds like the soundtrack to the apocalypse.  The riffs, the bass, drums, and the overall tone of the punishing Death Metal contained within is harrowing.

Even with such an arresting piece of music, the band still displays song writing at an extremely intelligent level; this is definitely thinking man’s Death Metal.  With “Exiler,” CONSTRUCT OF LETHE aren’t afraid of mix things up, shaking you up for the ride of your life just to suddenly let you go before pulling you back up again.   Just when you think you have it figured out, they throw a wrench into the works.  For full length albums, I rarely do a full song by song review but this one needs it. The opening track, “Rot of Augury,” begins with a deep as the bowels of hell bass line while guitar feedback comes from behind.  Just when it breaks open to a full Death Metal slaughter…it doesn’t.  Instead, a melodic guitar lead pierces the darkness while the drums build up their own hooks. Petrocelly and Bonvin are stellar examples of how Death Metal guitarists can and should play with unbridled fury but should still put emotion behind the strings. The bass guitar holds this part together until it finally explodes.  Dave Schmidt’s vocals are scary but growled with a fine balance between clarity and incomprehensible pain.   Towards the end of the song, the snare is pounded with military precision while another lead works its way into the song.  Unlike the opening lead, this one is less melodic but with more winding paths.

The second track, “A Testimony of Ruin,” perfectly captures a scene where the walls have come down and we are all left with the pieces to pick up.  Some chanting starts the vocalizations but are quickly joined by the growls, the two melding into one as a wonderful guitar solo displays the band’s ambitions to not be pegged down by their genre.  This song is a bit slower paced and shows the band playing a bit of Death/Doom.  A unique guitar solo breaks up the first half of the song, showing technical chops that sound alien.  After the solo breaks, Dave’s vocals sound as if he is spitting out gravel and his higher register growls are unnerving.  At the 3:41 mark, the song suddenly speeds up and Paridas rips up the shaken earth on his kit, completely destroying my senses. The next track, “The Clot,” immediately opens with the intense drumming and guitar I’ve come to expect from Death Metal. Paridas’s double bass kicks are lightening fast, creating all on his own a stampede of oncoming death.  The whole song is intense, a nonstop battering ram that actually made me feel tired by the time it finished; hearing this song played live would probably leave a few people in the pit dead.

The fourth track, “Soubirous,” beginning features filtered spoken word vocals backed by bass and solid riffs that are complimented by the song’s first solo.  This track is extremely dense and its many layers demand multiple listens before everything can truly be grasped.  Once my brain began to comprehend what I was hearing, I discovered a song with constant changes both in the overall feel of the song and the tempo; the song goes to creepy and hell bent to outright devastation at the turn of a dime but never loses its identity or gets lost when itself.  In fact, the song sort of opens itself up near the end with an amazing guitar solo that has feeling most bands of any genre can’t match; it sounds more like a guitar lick that I would find in a Stoner Metal band but with ten times the conviction and feeling. “Fugue State,” is a very different sounding song; the spoken word over the very Death Metal riffs make it stand out as yet another against the grain approach the band is more than happy to take.  The spoken word also highlights the vivid detail of the lyrics. Speaking of lyrics, they are one of the highlights of the album.

“It is wrapped in layer upon layer of gauze
As i begin unraveling the first few
I come to the realization that i have in my hand
The head of Jesus fucking Christ”

Dark passages such as the one above permeate throughout the album.  They are extremely vivid and detail yet they never go too far over the line into gore.  Much like the music, their lyrics speak of depths and layers waiting to be unraveled. Anyway back to the music: he last minute and a half “Fugue State,” contains some of the best moments on the album.  Another unique and genre defying solo shreds over the melancholic riffs to become an entirely different song than what it started out as.  The way the band constantly changes their flow is truly outstanding and this song is one of the best examples of the musical prowess they have.

Terraces of Purgation,” immediately pulled me in with the guitars that have a trance like state to them; I was pulled out of if the hellish world I envisioned from the riffs with yet another ripping guitar solo.  This moment is just one of many throughout the album where the music conjures up images from the depth of my imagination until everything is just one big fluid movement of inner struggles and music. The final track, “Fester In Hesychasm,” is a battering ram until the 4:12 mark where the Death growls fade away until clean guitar parts appear.  Mere moments later, the song suddenly gets a renewed burst of energy before cooling off to clean instrumentation again.  CONSTRUCT OF LETHE show that Death Metal doesn’t always have to be non-stop speed or down tuned riffs; if played correctly, even the lighter moments can still bring a suffocating hell.

This year has been one hell of a ride for Death Metal; I could write a book on the number of great releases the genre has seen this year.  Standing up top of this putrid pile of decay, along with new albums from VALGRIND and WOMBBATH, is CONSTRUCT OF LETHE’s “Exiler.”

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Rot of Augury
2. A Testimony of Ruin
3. The Clot
4. Soubirous
5. Fugue State
6. Terraces of Purgation
7. Fester In Hesychasm
Dave Schmidt – Vocals
Tony Petrocelly – Guitars, Bass
Patrick Bonvin – Lead Guitars
Kevin Paradis – Drums
Record Label: Everlasting Spew Records


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