There is seemingly endless artistic license in the creation of simulated chaos characteristic to the impressionistic ‘dissonant’ blackened death metal movement where a handful of artists are seen as innovators as they apply new recording techniques to old bizarro ideas. To rely on overt experimentation to entertain the masses is a sort of dream for the occasional inspired musician who might move ten times faster than the traditional release schedule allows; To the average listener, spoiled with riches and flippant to the point of aggravation, perceived continuity from an artist provides a drug-like hit of instant gratification. This clash manifests some truly ugly and challenging music when a boon of ideas defines an artist but grows tiresome and shapeless over time. The test of an artist’s skill typically lies in finding a new pocket of major interest with untapped, expansive potential. Does it make sense to die by the sword in committing to iteration towards excellence, when the alternative is to shape-shift outside of the brand? None of this applies to Melbourne, Australian death metal band Eskhaton who remain characteristically hard to pin down but instantly recognizable as a prime source for indulgent chaos carried by brutal structuring.
Creating chaos with some evident and/or readable meaning to the listener is a great challenge harnessed particularly well by the various hotbeds of Australia’s extreme metal landscape where groups, such as the hugely influential Portal, rely on both true and perceived dissonance for exciting ‘chaotic’ nuance. It would be easy to draw a wobbly line between the two artists but you’d have missed the more obvious influences that Eskhaton pull from. Much like Turkish war-blasters Sarinvomit the emphasis is on the riff and in the case of all three Eskhaton records these structures come from the foundation laid by groups like Bestial Warlust. There is an undeniable suggestion of war metal influence on ‘Omegalitheos’ but much of this blurring pace and ripping brutality obscures the death metal heart of Eskhaton.
In fact a deeper listen should reveal some similarities with more rigidly ‘death metal’ bands like Suffering Hour and Golgothan Remains that are less obvious due to a heavy dose of Blasphemy influence in the guitar work. If you’re not interested in sub-genre classification at all the tendency would be to lump ‘Omegalitheos’, and the bulk of Eskhaton‘s work, into the war metal arena. Their style will be a natural fit for fans of stuff like Blasphemophagher or the atmospheric death of recent Autokrator. In this sense ‘Omegalitheos’ is very much a death metal album. The suggestion here is that the fourth Eskhaton album will appear as two different things depending on how familiar it is: Brutal impressionistic death metal or chaotic/riffing war metal. Either interpretation finds the full listen altogether redeeming if not tonally repetitive and reliant on its unhinged attack.
‘Omegalitheos’ is just slightly more daunting than the previous two full-lengths which clocked in around 45 minutes on average but at 52 minutes it absolutely drags on forever with what I’d consider two full album’s worth of ideas. Because of the time commitment required to really dip into deeper waters with Eskhaton I found myself anxious to move on to other things after the eighth or so full listen in the span of about 2-3 months. The storm of riffs, blasting drums, and tense liquid rhythms achieved are masterful in many ways but the full experience doesn’t offer much more than say, your average Angelcorpse influenced death metal record. A great achievement in that sense, but still about ten minutes too much.
If you were impressed by Eskhaton‘s previous work then you’ll understand they are not an experimental or progressive project in nature and each record appears as small refinement of their original sound. If you enjoyed Eskhaton before you will be pleased by the familiarity of their sound. ‘Omegalitheos’ kicks in some additional energy when directly compared to ‘Worship Death’ (2014) and warms up the production slightly but you’ll have to dig into the album for a while to soak up the differentiation. Between the impressive artwork and the viable set of riffs within I’d still be proud to own a copy of ‘Omegalitheos’ but on that same token it isn’t the sort of album that I’ll be dying to spin on a regular basis. For preview I’d suggest the duo of the title track and “Abyss Unknown”, and the Immolation-esque “Blasphemartyr”. Recommended to folks seeking union between death metal and modern war metal brutality.
Cavernous anechoic escalating hunger. 3.5/5.0
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