“Roaring macrocosmic winds, release me from this womb.“
Primarily composed of photons ejected from large or exploding stars, cosmic wind is a powerful force that can push interstellar dust clouds of low density into intergalactic space. It can be caused by orbital gas movement in clustered galaxies or can be ejected from Execration, a Norwegian death metal band that seems prepared to handle creation of heavy psych flavors and noise rock freneticism-informed atmospheric death metal. The swagger of doom rock and the sinister thrashy tremolo noodling of modernist black metal erects itself within the warm, dark layers of Scandi atmo-death jangle layers, creating an inhuman and unsettling death metal album.
Before anyone savvy enough says “Duh, sounds like they copped that swagger from Obliteration” I mean, the two bands have common points of inception (as far as loose associations are concerned) with two folks coming from doom/noise project Altaar. The closer I listen to Execration’s discography the more I see some similarities with their Norwegian brethren of similar ochre. ‘Odes of the Occult’ was a devolved, messy ‘Severed Survival’ type of moment while ‘Necropsalms’ was a masterpiece in it’s own right. The comparison doesn’t matter anymore as Execration have expanded upon their style introduced on ‘Morbid Dimensions’ in both possible directions. Some tracks meander and jangle-bonk out riffs with greater layers and fewer doom metal moments, others skitter along feeling like post-modernist death metal informed by rose-tinted Amebix and Voivod aesthetica. What I loved about ‘Morbid Dimensions’ was getting kind of lost in the moment of the playlist and becoming engrossed by the wandering guitar lines without feeling like I was in the midst of some kind of cheap retro death metal album. I get that same contact high from this follow-up. ‘Return to the Void’ escapes retro death metal constipation by simply layering itself on thick, completely avoiding typical 90’s structures and maintaining high energy status. It feels transcendent, much like ‘Sweven’.
Superior production helps create a vehicle of suffocating bursts, a sound pushing along the ideas formed by Execration. It feels fuzzy and thoughtful rather than out to impress. I feel neither angst nor do they address any sort of testosterone fueled, ruthless technical battery. I love that more metal bands are shying away from the technical for the sake of indescribable weirdness, but weird for the sake of weird gets far too dorky and pointless when you’re set on listening to music that moves you. I absolutely think ‘Return to the Void’ is an emotionless melange, meant to entrance the listener, to help them escape from the real and the usual. If you needed something more from Venenum in terms of atmospherics and structures outside of death metal, or if you wanted full extreme metal from Reveal‘s excellent ‘Flystrips’ album I believe I’ve found a bit of moderator.
The music of Execration, as they’ve formed a distinct personality on these last two releases, isn’t so unpredictable and chaotic that it can’t be enjoyed. I do however doubt that it’ll stick within the listener without a concerted effort to deduce the crypto-philosophical postured lyrics and post-metal jangled layers of sci-fi death guitars. This is exciting music, something that inspires me and captures my interest beyond much of what 2017 has to offer. It isn’t perfect or very catchy, and probably wins style over substance, but it gets into the right groove and takes their sound to a different and compelling place that begins to defy metal genre labels beyond any possible peers.