The Chalice Of Ages
posted on 10/2007 By:
Crude, gurgling, monstrous beasts with weeping eyes struggling to pull free from slimy webbings of alien afterbirth; dark, freezing oceans of stormy waves relentlessly crashing on mountainous shores that hang heavy with centuries of unearthly moss; zombified priests gazing rottedly from the mists of broken, long-abandoned cemeteries: all images I love to have conjured within my putrid brain when I listen to death metal. And thanks to the equally (if not far more) contaminated mind of Axel Hermann, those sickly-sweet images are directly within every metalhead's arm's reach.
Axel Hermann? Whaaa? Who the hell is Axel Hermann??
His name might not look familiar, but I guaran-damn-tee you he’s played a crucial role in our metal community for the past 15+ years or so. Axel Hermann is responsible for early album covers from death metal goliaths such as Morgoth, Unleashed, Asphyx and Grave, so it’s of absolutely no surprise to me that the good fellows in Deathevokation chose to invoke his services to embolden the cover of their debut full-length, The Chalice of Ages. This record is seeping with old-school death metal in the vein of the early 90’s European scene, and Hermann’s cover depicting a reddish, misshapen human peeking from the maw of an even ghastlier beast not only fits the crude death metal held within seamlessly, but one can almost see it quiver and pulse to throbbing, miserable life as these ancient sounding tunes waft doomily from your speakers.
Enough about sick album covers, though. Let’s dip our piddies into the actual filth. The Chalice of Ages essentially completes my trifecta of stunning 2007 debut full-lengths in the field of new old-school death metal. Alongside whoppers recently dropped by Necros Christos and Helcaraxë, Deathevokation’s inaugural full-length also pays huge fealty to the ancient death-wizards of yore, but where the Necros material steeps itself in the burble-gurgle of Autopsy, and the Axë fellers choose to smash with heavy nods to the speedier moments of Unleashed, this young troupe goes a bit further and strops the ol’ blade on the same leather used by a wealth of the heavyweights found scattered about Europe in the very early 90’s: Asphyx, Unleashed (the tune “Carrion” sounds as if it could have snuggled directly onto Where No Life Dwells), Grave, God Macabre and certainly The Karelian Isthmus era of Amorphis as well (goodly amounts of sweet, melodic guitar-work all over this record, folks). This essentially means the record looms forward like a slogging mammoth for a lionshare of the time, and only occasionally trips into speedier terrain when there’s some serious tramplin’ to be done (the end of the title track, for example, and the whole of “Infinity Blights the Flesh” to boot).
This isn’t to say that Deathevokation are essentially carbon copying albums that have already been done. That’s certainly not the case here. The Chalice of Ages simply does exactly what the band hoped it would do, which is transport the listener to the European death metal scene of 1991. Period. There are no floor-punchin’, wind-millin’ break downs to be found; no dips into razored black metal with church organs; and absolutely no swine-like vocals snorted from a guy who looks like he’s in the midst of a damned seizure (actually, it’s certainly worth my mentioning the fact that front-man Götz has some of the deepest, most rubble-inducing, gutteral vocals in the bloody business. The way he bellows ‘Nuclear raaaain – washing away the ashes of humanity’ on “Acherontic Epitaph”? In-fucking-human.). Nope, Deathevokation kneel to absolutely no death metal trends. This is alte Schule death metal für alte Schuleleute, so either grab a fistful of mammoth fur and enjoy the ride, or give ‘em a hell-of-a wide berth as they plod through and directly into battle. Undoubtedly recommended for fans of any of the above-mentioned, classic bands.
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