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Emortualis - Biological

by James Peterson at 25 December 2017, 9:14 AM

After just over a minute and forty two seconds of ambient creepy noise in “Intro - Dissected,” Italian death metal band EMORTUALIS finally hit you across the face with the first riffage that occurs in their new EP “Biological.” That felt like… way too long to get to a riff or anything musical for a song that’s just shy of seven minutes. I wonder if perhaps the band did this because they know most people skip ambient intro tracks? So they made it such that you have to press fast forward in order to get to when the actual music starts… as in they’re downright insisting that you listen to the intro track. This is silly. This is actually kind of obnoxious, even. It made me sit in my chair bored until the music started. Maybe if the ambience was interesting at all, I wouldn’t be ranting so much about this.

In any case, being these guys are a death metal band from Italy, immediately what should pop into your head is bands from the scene that have that distinct “Italian DM” sound to them: HOUR OF PENANCE, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE and HIDEOUS DIVINITY. All of these bands play in the NILE and BEHEMOTH approach of having a huge production sound, very high tempos and a (sometimes black metal influenced) extreme death metal sound replete with tremolo picked riffs in the double harmonic or phrygian dominant scale. That’s nothing like what EMORTUALIS offer. If there’s such a thing as “raw black metal,” then these guys play “raw death metal.” I like a more human, less quantized/computer-y sound, and this band is like the last band I reviewed, HAEMORRHAGE, in that they are an osdm band from the early 90s. So perhaps they’re aiming for a sound akin to their contemporaries from that time multiple decades ago. But alas, it is not such a successful venture in their case.

The sound engineering here is honestly all over the place. The bass tone sounds very barebones, but the vocals actually have a great place in the mix and are crystal clear. The guitar tone has a pretty weak distortion dialed in; the drums sound like they have absolutely no compression on them (you need to use at least a little in recording) and sound improperly mixed. There are points where I can’t even hear the kick drum. I don’t know why Encyclopedia Metallum has this listed as an EP. This is definitely a demo.

The songwriting is massively rudimentary for the genre and not engaging in the slightest. “Future Talks” literally starts with a minute 25 friggin seconds of another completely filler ambient opening and a LITERAL 0-0-0-0-0 riff.  Despite the basic cookie-cutter riffage presented here, however, it’s not all mediocre. I really liked the first quarter of “Back From Hell”… before… literally the entire band falls flat. There’s a bass fill that sets up the next riff as a truly painful scream is trailing off, and then the whole band comes back in playing a vexingly basic chromatic dm riff with a drum line that unfortunately isn’t composed well either. I also have to take a moment to say this band isn’t tight. They have trouble staying in time and this whole riff falls apart and was so unenjoyable it completely killed my enjoyment of the rest of this song.

There is one song here I really thought was… great. An anomaly to the rest of the EP: “Biological Green Mutation - Outro” I liked how the clean vocals were used in the beginning of it, and how they harmonize with the guitar before flowing into some decent riffs and intense vocal and drum performances. The bass also sounds really thunderous here and the picking tremolo on it sounds sick. And I love when the song slows down to a crushing crawl with gross pinchies just before 3 minutes. Seriously thank God there’s at least one killer song on here.

I’m honestly really glad this is just an EP. Didn’t have to sit through it quite as long as the LUCIFER’S CHALICE record, but this and that are definitely the most unappetizing EP and LP I’ve heard in the past… four years I’d say, respectively. It’s really unfortunate. I wish all the songs were as good as the album closer, because it’s not like I don’t want to like this… I just don’t for the reasons laid out above. Definitely check out "Biological Green Mutation - Outro” below, though.

Songwriting: 3
Originality: 2
Memorability: 4
Production: 3

1 Star Rating

1. Intro - Dissected
2. Written by Death
3. Back from Hell
4. Future Talks
5. Biological Green Mutation – Outro
M – Bass and Vocals
FA – Drums
AS – Guitars
Azmodan – Guitars
Record Label: The Spew Records


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