Release DetailsLABEL Ibex Moon Records
RELEASED ON 4/1/2007
Exacerbated Gnostic Manifestation
posted on 8/2007 By:
Immolation's Shadows in the Light. Obituary's Xecutioner's Return. Drawn and Quartered's Merciless Hammer of Lucifer. Necros Christos' Triune Impurity Rites. Of any genre aside from doom, death metal has seen the brunt of this year's best releases. An undeniable theme of modern metal is the fact that as each year passes it becomes increasingly difficult to stake claim to anything remotely original, and, just or unjust, most people point to death metal as a prime example. As I listen to Exacerbated Gnostic Manifestation, I can't help but ask, "Who cares?"
I, like many others before and after me, can forgive the unoriginal when it comes in the form of rhythmic, unrepentantly evil death metal. There's something about the sound of crushing drums and piercing vocals that gives me goosebumps, and Thornafire's "Clergy's Betray" gives me many. Incantation comparisons are kind of obvious given the fact that they're on Incantation founder John McEntee's label, but there's far more than a label mate connection. Vocalist Alexis Muñoz's throaty delivery sounds an awful lot like McEntee, and the rumbling riffs and dark atmosphere are unmistakably similar to Primordial Domination, but there's a certain charm in tribute and these Chileans do it justice. There's a spirit and a purpose to the music that gives the album a sense of validity and authenticity. It's not so obvious in its influences that it has no stamp of its own, but you'll certainly notice some similarities as you skim through its 10 appropriately timed tracks
As blisteringly fast as they get, Thornafire are most gripping when they switch up the pace for a slower, more ethereal sound. The muddy slap of "Fertility Initiation" is a good example of doom/death done right, and it offers one of maybe 3 songs where I completely forgot I was trying to spot the band's key influences. Also, it's far easier to get caught in a riff when it's not crowded by enough layers to make an eskimo jealous, and guitarist Victor MacNamara deserves to have at least some moments of shine. I wouldn't necessarily say that he carries the bulk of the album, but his riffs really give EGM its weight.
There are a few things that will turn off some listeners. For one, the drums can get a little too clinical at times. While I actually like the sparingly-used click-click blast beats, I am aware that many don't like them used at all, so if you're so anal about the drum sound that you can't stomach a few seconds here and there then you'll find yourself deducting a point or two from the songwriting score. And sure, this isn't the most original 47 minutes of music you will ever hear, but it isn't entirely derivative either. Consider it a death metal appetizer before the main course, but don't be surprised if Thornafire climb their way to the top in the coming years.
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