Construct of Lethe – Exiler (2018) REVIEW

The multi-talented Virginian duo of Tony Petrocelly and Dave Schmidt were repeatedly struck by the waves of ameles potamos as a string of projects dissolved into the waters of forgotten oblivion. So formed Construct of Lethe, a catch-all for the dregs of their fallen death metal projects Betheledeign, Xaoc, and Dead Syndicate. Much of the fallout from previous efforts had worked their way out of the project’s blood stream after some limited independent release of previous demos and their Throne of Nails-esque technical death metal debut ‘Corpsegod’ in 2016. If you missed that album it featured session work form Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Feared) and it’s style was dictated by the inclusion of what appeared to be hangers-on from Dead Syndicate‘s sound. On thier second full-length Construct of Lethe appear to have moved entirely beyond the contributions of their past and aim towards their own future.

With the release of their 2016 EP ‘The Grand Machination’ and the inclusion of Patrick Bonvin (Near Death Condition) on lead guitars the less ‘technically obssessed’ vision of Construct of Lethe arose as a cross between ‘Formulas Fatal to the Flesh’ era Morbid Angel and Hernandez-era Immolation. If you’re familiar with the globular ‘Love of Lava’/’Gateways to Annihilation’ age of otherworldly shred from Trey Azagthoth and didn’t think it could be recreated, you should perk up at the sound of Bonvin‘s molten contributions to ‘The Grand Machination’ and ‘Exiler’. It is such a distinct sound that it almost felt like sacrilege before considering the Ancient One’s own offenses.

With endless love for ‘Formulas Fatal to the Flesh’ and ‘Failures for Gods’, much of ‘Exiler’ is both familiar and highly geared towards my personal tastes. Beyond the sonic resemblances and crawling atmospheric death metal lies several surprising experiments with genre and structure that make for some reasonable, lasting value. I think what initially struck me upon a precursory/casual listen was “Fugue State” as it caught be by surprise after the oddly ‘rock’ solo that ends “Soubirious”. What follows is a description of awakening in a dark tomb holding the swaddled head of Jesus Christ and the ensuing horror is brilliantly presented through spoken narration and appropriately doom-chugging death metal. It is a perversely enjoyable sort of thing seemingly teleported from the 90’s metal contraband bag-of-tricks and twisted into a modern death metal song. The bulk of the album is no less dynamic but focuses on more traditional death metal ideas.

There is a ‘progressive’ sense of confident movement that keeps Construct of Lethe‘s late 90’s/early 00’s influenced death metal sounding modern on ‘Exiler’ despite clear influences. If sped up a song like “The Clot” might just sound like any track off of ‘Serpents of the Light’ but with crawling pace and unique lead guitar input it becomes their own sort of beast. If you have no nostalgia for a certain era of Morbid Angel or Immolation then I figure you might not carry the same level of excitement that I do for ‘Exiler’, but it is worth noting that beneath any sonic resemblances their compositions and approach are not mere imitation. I hear steady progress, brilliant skills in the studio/mixing, and some bold experimentation amidst the lava flows and falls from a high place.

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Artist Construct of Lethe
Type Album
Released June 20, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Everlasting Spew Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Construct of Lethe on Facebook
Genres
Death Metal

 Requiem to a rotting coffin. 4.0/5.0

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