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Execration – Return to the Void

Return to the Void
by Mick at 18 September 2017, 12:11 PM

The Norwegian four piece, EXECRATION, currently on Metal Blade Records, released their newest album “Return to the Void” this past July. The album contains a total of nine tracks, two of which, “Blood Moon Eclipse” and the pedal looped “Through the Oculus,” are short instrumentals, leaving only seven that offer a complete representation of the band’s fourth album to their catalog. More isn’t always better in some cases. Sometimes what’s needed to be said can be done so in a simple and concise manner. With music, this allows both band and listener to get right to the point. EXECRATION manages to say what they have to say in these seven songs.

The album starts off with “Eternal Recurrence,” a fast-paced song that has one hearing hint echoes of early METALLICA and ANTHRAX. Aggressively structured, “Eternal Recurrence” sets to the album’s expected tone and keeps fans engaged well enough for the next song, “Hammers of Vulcan.” As the song builds, we are taken from a slow, audio-gambit swing of chopping suspense into a trip-hammer speed of intensity to several sections of open air and breathable space. The song incorporates guitar elements offering a progressive melody that seems to sway in contrast with the pounding beat. This particular element really gives the song its unique depth and edge, completely taking it out of the standard realm context of the “in your face” assault approach. This guitar theme is repeated as well in the third track “Nekrocosm”, where I am briefly reminded of the IRON MAIDEN approach. “Unicursal Horrorscope” is musically the best track on the album. It covers all the bases and has something for all different kinds of listeners. I found the title track “Return to the Void” to be very similar, if not an extension or continuation of “Unicursal Horrorscope.”   By the middle of the song, I was sure I heard this already. The album ends with “Det Uransakelige Dyp.” The guitar is presented much like a keyboard would be in a symphonic power metal composition, adding more vigor and style to the band’s songwriting abilities.

What I found both interesting and most enjoyable about the album was that a no traditional soloing was integrated on the part of the guitars… no long, drawn out, countless measures of trailblazing lead work.  There is plenty of note work to be had, but it was used to not only enhance the rhythms but also offered a counter melody as well a timing all its own that can take the listener to different points of view. To be frank, I am not a huge fan of this style of vocals and often feel they take away from the songs’ true potential and emotional content. The inclusion of the repetitive guitar melodies just helped break things up for me and provided balance to the vocal-style’s traditional staccato delivery. On a production note, I would have preferred the drums to be more defined and upfront in the overall mix as they provide not just the backbeat of the songs, but strategically give the songs their accented qualities. “Return to the Void” is a strong mix of several different styles within the Metal genre. The album offers enough diversity for various types of listeners to stay engaged, setting itself just outside of the norm. There is also enough familiarity to the album that provides listeners like myself, something to grab on to musically without completely breaking the mold or burning a proverbial bridge back to the void… which gives fans an easy way in or out without much obstacle.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Eternal Recurrence
2. Hammers of Vulcan
3. Nekrocosm
4. Cephalic Transmissions
5. Blood Moon Eclipse
6. Unicursal Horrorscope
7. Through the Oculus
8. Return to the Void
9. Det Uransakelige Dyp
Cato Syversrud: Drums
Christian Johansen: Guitar / Vocals
Jørgen Maristuen: Guitar / Vocals
Jonas Helgemo: Bass
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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Edited 15 October 2018

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