Drawn and Quartered – The One Who Lurks (2018) REVIEW

The return of Drawn and Quartered comes as an eruption of gore-hammered blasphemy, a clarion call for doom’s hastening upon mankind. The Seattle, Washington area death cult appear writhing in response and foaming with tangible ardor as their zealous cries, unheard far too long, cheer for their destroyer. A great mountain of mud and fiery suffocating death lights the path for ‘The One Who Lurks’ and few could be as devoutly washed with their putrid death spells as I. Twenty five years beyond inception the atmospheric brutality of Drawn and Quartered‘s death metal music is still undeniably relevant as their underground cult of wraiths glorify the perilous grime of torturous death alongside man’s inescapable urge for lethal violence. Their latest full-length is a tunneling chaos wyrm, a menace upon the mind, seeking it’s ultimate release one victim at a time.

Long masters of their craft, the core two thirds of Drawn and Quartered have remained stoic in both presence and artistry  since 1993 and their seventh full-lenth experience is still driven by Kelly Kuciemba‘s grossly iniquitous riffs. His style has morphed within old school brutality, inching towards towards crawling atmospheric cyclical odes. Kuciemba‘s guitar work has long come with comparisons to the orchestral complexity of Rob Vigna and the stylized dramatics of John McEntee, though I think this is a notable scent of influence and, as is the case with Dead Congregation and Funebrarum, doesn’t suggest emulation. The vocals and steadily increasing bass performances of Herb Burke are likewise notable; His deeply resonating growls and cadence offer instantaneous recognition.

After a decade performing on the band’s most classic output, the exit of Dario Derna (Ritual Chamber, Krohm) gave way for the open third to be filled by their fourth drummer Tormentor (Simon Dorfman) previously involved in Inquinok and Shaded Enmity. His performance on the ‘Proliferation of Disease’ (2016) demo marked his brutal entrance into the fold as he appeared more than capable atop the murk of the tape. That tape appeared to represent Drawn and Quartered dusting their hands of what was meant to be the follow up to ‘Feeding Hell’s Furnace’ (2012) and moving on towards what would become ‘The One Who Lurks’. Whereas ‘Proliferation of Disease’ was slightly regressive as a return to the style their earlier releases, their seventh album leans into deeper still atmospheric sensibilities.

This shouldn’t suggest neither that there are fewer riffs nor are Drawn and Quartered are becoming shapeless, but rather ‘The One Who Lurks’ production creates a frightening crypt’s worth of death noise. No small part of this successful undercurrent is Loic F. (Autokrator) who handles the mix, master and production duties alongside releasing the album through his quickly rising Krucyator Productions imprint. Known for his own atmospheric death metal vision, and perhaps less known for his mix/masters of bands like Taphos Nomos, his capture of Drawn and Quartered sets a totemic stage of sound with the drums just beneath the bass guitar tone and with guitar and vocals matched to create a glowering shroud of directive force. Although I would have personally liked more definition on the bass’ tone it is a pristine capture of the band’s sound.

The songwriting is classic Drawn and Quartered that pulls in ideas old and new for an experience that is the first, most serious, introduction to the trio’s new synergy. The listening experience is where the band have always excelled in terms of arranging the tracklist for maximum effect. ‘The One Who Lurks’ begins with a barrage of bullets and stomping doom-like hellfire as the first two tracks sway between the demonic urgency of their sound and the more reserved technicality of post-‘Hail Infernal Darkness’ (2007) material. The third track “Horned Shadows Rise” is a powerful outlier and reminds me of Abominant on their ‘Ungodly’ album where they eased up on their newfound melodic black metal influences slightly. From there we’re given new storms from hell’s furnace (“The One That Lurks”) that appear increasing cumulative of the band’s finest moments. “Temples of Arcane Devition” in particular carries the vibe, attack, and eventual crawl that epitomizes the band’s own unique sound.

Though I am partially biased from having spent the last fifteen years as a fan of the band, I did give the album it’s due diligence and scrutiny. Put through it’s paces and exhausted of it’s fluctuations I found ‘The One Who Lurks’ offers a balanced and rarely dragging full listen. Early spins suggested the second half was ‘samey’ with the finale bleeding together to much, at least in terms of guitar work. With closer listening and some focus on song structure I think what I had noticed was based on the circular nature of the record and a few tracks with similar bones; The stomping entrance and resounding finale of the experience had blurred together slightly, also, in contrast to the more differentiated middle portion of the tracklist. At no point did any of this matter, though, it is a damn heavy death metal record. Of course I would recommend it. I would recommend every single thing this band has ever released. Drawn and Quartered are one of the most consistent and thoughtful death metal projects of the last twenty years. ‘The One That Lurks’ further extends their well-established underground supremacy.

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Artist Drawn and Quartered
Type Album
Released July 27, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Krucyator Productions’ Bandcamp! Follow Drawn and Quartered on Facebook
Genres
Death Metal

Vulgar rites, manifesting. 4.5/5.0

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