posted on 11/2012 By:
When one clicks onto the website of Belfast’s Rex Shachath, the header at the top of the browser reads “Irish old school death metal,” revealing that they’re not only focused on one goal, but quite proud of it. (To clarify, it’s less “Irish old school death metal” than “old school death metal played by Irish dudes.”) Like a combination of Malevolent Creation, Dawn of Possession, a simplified Morbid Angel, and the slightest touch of murk, debut EP Sepulchral Torment is a respectable and quite enjoyable throwback. It’s also a bit of an accomplishment when one considers that the band formed barely over a year ago.
With its speed picking, gurgling vocals, tempo changes, and occasional Slayerism, the title track kicks off these 18 minutes by previewing exactly what the rest will contain. Sure, the Morbid Angel vibe might be a tad stronger in “Follow the Bastard Prophet,” there’s a hint of melody in “Seven Serpents,” and closer “Statues of Death” inserts some groove, but overall this is a very single-minded package. Rex Shachath occasionally struggles to writes the most engaging riffs, but they typically make up for it with compact, relentless song structures full of momentum and shifts. The production is closer to the organic sound of Covenant than anything else, but doesn’t match the warm, cozy blanket of enveloping entrails that classic creates.
You can go back and forth on the merits / pitfalls of writing pure homage, but every person I’ve ever known who argues against it still seems to have a few tribute-ish acts that they adore. Bottom line: I love early 90s death metal. I enjoy bands who play in the style of early 90s death metal. I especially like it when bands play in the style of early 90s death metal and do it well. Rex Shachath certainly does it well — not the best, or even great enough to land in any type of upper echelon, but good enough to keep ears tuned up to whatever they spew out next.
Register to post comments.