Formed as a grouping of young, still-growing minds dead set on classic death/thrash metal worship at the midway point of the 2000’s, Birmingham, Alabama trio Bloated Carcass would rip through three demos worth of ideas before diversifying their maturing focus into a new atmospheric death metal project. The arrival of Ectovoid quickly earned reasonable fandom through a fluid, slightly blackened, take on ‘Dawn of Possession’-esque death metal in 2011 with the release of their ‘Breathing Blackness’ demo. With the reveal of their debut full-length ‘Fractured in the Timeless Abyss’ (2012) the Ross Dolan influenced vocals of C.B. provided surrogate presence as Drawn and Quartered went on an extended hiatus nearby. That debut album was more than an exploration of New York death metal as the guitar work would venture into both Finnish death metal’s circular complexities and North American death/doom atmospherics. With this more serious effort gaining darker momentum for the band, they would channel away increasingly distant thrash interests into side-project Condukator. A great peak and lasting monument to Ectovoid‘s sound came with ‘Dark Abstraction’. Coming into their own as composers and performers found the project realizing the ambitions of their earliest releases; The trajectory for the band was promising and ‘Dark Abstraction’ found the band expanding upon similar territory that Goreaphobia had suggested on ‘Apocalytic Necromancy’.
By 2016 the band appeared to be focusing more intently on atmospheric values with their contribution to a four way split release (including: Sabbatory, Trenchrot, and Cemetery Filth) which would include the final performances from co-founding guitarist Michael Stewart who passed away earlier that year. The band took a break after the tragic death of their brother-in-arms and chose to continue on with Atlanta, Georgian guitarist C.S. (Charlie Southern) who is best known for his work in thrashers Sadistic Ritual, black metal project Vimur, and defunct Slayer-riffic death metal band Haunting. Here in 2019 we are given this new Mark II version of Ectovoid without any enormous changes to their overall sound. The deep register and cadence of early Immolation still thrives in the bands general sound but C.S.‘ guitar work brings in deeper spiraling complexity for a set of songs atmospherically akin to Ritual Necromancy‘s latest but with the wandering old school Scandinavian scowl of a band like Stench of Decay informing the riffs.
‘Inner Death’ marks a successful reintroduction for Ectovoid that pays some mind to their already established legacy without recreating the sound and style of ‘Dark Abstraction’ directly. Though the memorable aspects of these three tracks largely come from rhythm guitar variations, I found the twelve minute span of this EP somewhat average as a listening experience. Yes, no doubt ‘Inner Death’ rips and I think vocalist C.B. sounds better than ever; Yet for this approach to sustain my attention on a full-length, greater focus on varied rhythms (or a deeper commitment to atmospheric transitions) is needed. The greater Incantation / Immolation fandom should find this, along with previous Ectovoid releases, above average. Moderately high recommendation with “Archaic Memories Unearthed” as the suggested track to preview.
Into the glow of night’s eternity. 3.75/5.0
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