The bisection of the corpse of Chicago, Illinois death metal band Narcotic in 2016 would would soon see its members splintered into three projects of equal (or higher) value as drummer Pat O’Hara would focus his energies towards Nucleus while other members would form Beastlurker and Decaying Remains in the time since. Voimaton arrives by way of O’Hara and vocalist Dave Tibbets (also ex-Narcotic) today as a bout of ‘old school’ death/doom metal music as raw and brutal as you’d expect from the Chicago area. Their influences should be clear as day from the first crunching chug of the rhythm guitars as a groove n’ growl rooted in the Cianide school of doom that is further exacerbated by an unwieldy and overblown Boss HM-2 drenched guitar tone. Whats that? You’re out? Nah, hey hold on even Horrendous started out stompin’ the old sawbox, give these grooves a chance. Beyond that their style focuses on the unification of Finnish and North American death/doom influences.
If all you’d had to go on is “Erudition” in terms of figuring out where Voimaton are coming from you’d likely pull away from it charmed by the big doom riffs in the middle, even if they go nowhere. It isn’t the most righteous first impression compared to the second and third tracks on this ~17 minute cassette, which stretch the proposed sludgy Finnish death presence into intensely satisfying grooves (“Primal”) and a chasmic maze of doom metal riffs (“Apotheia”). The down-stroked jog of the rhythm guitars on “Primal” has to be one of the most texturally satisfying experiences in caveman death metal this year but it was twisted, meandering gnarl of “Apotheia” that sold me on this band; Fans of Solothus, Runemagick (circa ’05), and Cryptic Brood should appreciate the hell out of this song’s thug-heavy roar. The range is there, I mean these three songs are enough of a dynamic for a ‘good’ debut in the future.– That said, I do think they’ll need to throw in more leads to keep things shapely and moving when their simpler pure death metal pacing kicks in. They’ll undoubtedly push the sound design further, hopefully edging towards Krypts or Spectral Voice level noise rather than stripping things down too far.
The only reservations I could manage are pretty minor: Voimaton could throw in a few divebombs and whatnot to amp up the guitar dramatics some and definitely find a more interesting guitar tone without losing that filthy chasmic death/doom sound. If they keep writing songs like “Primal” back to back with songs like “Apotheia”, I could care less about the details because those grooves are blood-soaked killers. Moderately high recommendation. For preview purposes I’d recommend the full listen with a release this short because each piece is vital to the scope of Voimaton‘s first tape.
Crippling fear of the unknown. 3.75/5.0
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