posted on 1/2011 By:
There's something strangely refreshing about coming across a band in this day and age that doesn't give a toss about trends or trying to push heavy metal into unexplored territory. Case in point: Tampa, Florida's Immanifest ignores anything and everything to do with sludge/proto/doom/post/progressive/mix-it-all-into-a-big-bloody-whirlwind and instead opt for turning back the clock to deliver a sampling of ol' symphonic blackened death metal…and that, my friends, is fucking that.
Unfortunately for our symphonic blackened death metal aficionados out there, I would consider myself a thorough halfwit of the genre, so you'll have to be content with my thin attempts at drawing comparisons to obvious records such as Enthrone Darkness Triumphant or [insert Necrophobic (Swe) album] and simply trust that I'm capable of recognizing well-executed, heartfelt heavy metal, no matter the particular branch. And honestly, despite my not being particularly bowled over by Qliphotic's innovativeness, I'd surely say this scant 16-minute peek into what's to come from the Immanifest camp certainly warrants them a spot on any fan of the genre's "to investigate further" list. In fact, I'm surprised as hell to see that they've not yet landed on a proper label.
What I find particularly impressive about this EP is Immanifest's rather burly take on the style. Even when things are slightly tempered -- towards the close of "Revelations In Darkness", for example, or the opening of "Among the Dead" -- the band opts for an epic route as opposed to some bullshit Victorian poofery crooned from ruffled collars. Guitarist Asgrim's gruff death metal vocals further strengthen the EP's stoutness, as 90% of the material here features his bruising, guttural delivery, with only the occasional blackened rasp snuggling up from time-to-time.
Those with keyboard anxieties can rest easy as well. At no point during this three-song teaser do the keys ever dip into clownish, Barnum & Bailey territory. And apart from the occasional Anthems to the Welkin twinkling during the abundant speedier blackened moments, keyboardist Anton Kalaj stays true to the "symphonic" tag by bolstering the EP's more galloping measures with aptly blended "brass" or smooth atmospherics, giving the overall mood an enticing soundtrack vibe.
The only negatives from my vantage point deal with personal gripes I've always had with this style. I'd love to hear the bass occasionally break out from behind the wall, and the overall mix and delivery is so precise that it lends a mechanical feel to the overall sound that I'd rather see opened up through a more organic approach, particularly in regards to the impeccable drumming.
In the end, Qliphotic does exactly what a three-song, 16-minute teaser is supposed to do: get the band noticed. Would this material have set Immanifest apart from the scads of other bands doing close to the same thing in the early 2000's? Hell if I know. But it definitely showcases a talented new project worthy of attention for those who still dig symphonic blackened death metal. And I'd certainly state that I don't think these guys will be without a label for very long.
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