Fictional worldbuilding is a rare feat in the realm of death metal and this is especially remarkable in the murk of brutal death metal, which often feeds from pools of gore, atrocity and metaphysical thinking. Engulf acts as a satisfying outlier with an arcing science fiction fantasy narrative that waxes poetic with description and annal of a sentient, supreme being exerting it’s plans without a clear goal expressed. This, coupled with some exceptionally crafted early 2000’s influenced death metal brutality, comes from Hal Microutisicos (Blasphemous, Chapel of Ruin) who handles all instrumentation and drum programming. Though his releases have been brief thus far they are impeccably detailed works of art with all aspects of sound, style, and aesthetics rendered at a high standard.
Great continuity exists between Engulf‘s 2017 EP ‘Subsumed Atrocities’ and ‘Gold and Rust’ as they deal with what appears to be the same narrative and song-writing sessions. Those already familiar with the project’s sound and vision will undoubtedly notice some better balanced mixing, more refined drum programming, and some additionally technical runs but the core and overall sound of Engulf is the same. Microutisicos’ guitar technique reminds me of Erik Rutan‘s in the sense that he pulls from the same rhythmic motions but generally aims for technicality with impact rather than bother with needless flourishes. This should excite fans of ‘Domination’-era Morbid Angel and the earlier works of Hate Eternal in equal measure.
Citing some of the more memorable acts from the millennium adjacent age of death metal Engulf stabs violently between fingers of Ulcerate and Decapitated occasionally nicking off fleshy grooves, dissonant riffing, and battery from that brutal stable. This only gives a general idea of how the drum structures drive the heaving attack of ‘Gold and Rust’ forward. With some ear for the attack of Gorguts and Suffocation in mind Engulf sounds more like a contemporary for their core influences rather than a project vaulting off of more recent ideas. I don’t know if I’d call it old school brutal death but I doubt many would argue with the distinction.
With some excitement for the combination of a high fantasy concept brutal death metal I found I eventually shook off the lyrics and focused on the riffs entirely. With more listens it did begin to feel claustrophobic on repeat, as the approach is fairly relentless, but with ‘Nihility’ as a barometer ‘Gold and Rust’ grooves and breathes quite a bit a lot. I am curious, excited even, to see how Engulf‘s style and story develops towards a full-length length album.
|Released||July 13, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Everlasting Spew Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow Engulf on Facebook|
Disintegrating galaxies. 4.0/5.0
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