Title: Ascent Through Morbid Transcendence
Label: Invictus Productions
Release Date: 13 November 2020
Format reviewed: High-quality digital recording
The latest band to bubble to the surface of the actively frothing French death metal scene is Sépulcre, whose debut demo was unshackled on the 13th of November. The French trio, hailing from Brittany, has delivered a tidy fifteen-minute offering which includes three tracks and a brief intro.
The ambient intro track sets the scene, and similar to the creeping atmosphere of a classic horror film it succeeds in building suspense in anticipation of the hideousness to come. It arrives in the form of track two, “Invocation of Plague Ridden Entit”, which ruptures the ambience and what follows can only be described as a torrent of old school death metal, wailing guitars, whammies and thick classic riffing.
On the surface the sound is overtly death, being swift, precise and hostile but it is quickly realised that there is more depth, subtly and nuance present here. At times the foundation of sharp guitar and caustic aggression crack and give way to a thicker, more stifling atmosphere with slow grinding doom-esque riffs, as exhibited in my favourite track “Morbid Transcendence”.
There is a shadowy and sinister undercurrent throughout the demo that, once detected, feels unsettling and ominous and as though it is lurking just out of sight. This veiled eeriness is what makes the band stand out for me. For instance, during track two (around the 3:20 mark) there are some rapid, indecipherable and insidious whispers that could easily pass unnoticed but even if you catch them you may feel as if you mind is deceiving you. There are also brief moments where it seems that sounds are playing backwards, as in the end of track three “Morbid Transcendence”. The overall effect is as though you’re being distracted by the raucous death metal while simultaneously being corrupted by a more subliminal, sinister darkness.
“Ascent Through Morbid Transcendence” is simply superb and evokes memories of some earlier 90’s death that I adore, like Abhorrence or perhaps even very early Sentenced. Sépulcre are clearly masters of their craft as I can barely believe that this is a debut demo, and although this release is only a small morsel, the decadent flavours linger. 9/10 Proua Metallist.
9/10 : Epic Storm!
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