Released from the painful ignorance of Saṃsāra as a dot with infinite third-eye’d sight, he’d see the silvered blur of shimmering continents from within the exosphere and peering back. The entire “phantasmagoria of earthly existence” was torn away in view of nirvāṇa or, some kind of final illuminating death (nir-upadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa) for the individual who’d view his entire lifespan a piece of tape clipped from a reel. The black monolith and a lotus-seated consultant eventually offers a sight beyond to this fellow, Jung actually, in a coma as he’d suffered a heart attack strong enough to trigger a near-death experience. He’d speak of this sight, a glowing window that’d reveal all knowledge and meaning, sought in life and offered by the consultant in his vision as if it were the great romance of his existence, distraught that he was torn away in a harrowing trade. There a shadowed figure of his doctor pulled him back to consciousness unwillingly, inspiring karmic mysticism in his mind and oddly enough a coincidental septicæmic death for the doctor residing over his health. The synchronicity of events is perhaps intentionally sentimental in illustration of absurdity, wherein the inner state of dying was so beauteous that returning to the realm of the living made physical existence appear “downright ridiculous.” For the elder Jung death meant reaching a state of highest objectivity, a truth stoic enough to resemble spirituality yet even after this hallucinatory witness of the portal beyond none of it could become belief for the sake of his scientific mind.
This process of near-death and dying is spiritual and physical wonder, an unrelenting curiosity for the horrific knowledge of death resultant that drives San José, Costa Rica-based death/doom metal duo Bloodsoaked Necrovoid toward conjure of ritualistic entrancement. Their fixation upon the uncertain and unknowable end sets a darkest eye towards rot, psychic ruin, interrupted transcendence and exactly the sort of shocking realization that’d come from unknowingly trading a brief extension of life for the death of another. Their debut full-length ‘Expelled into the Unknown Depths of the Unfathomable‘ not only delivers upon the caustic-dreaming charm of their chasmic demo tapes in recent years but finds the band in a state of ‘old school’ death/doom metal entrancement, transfixed and emanating ruthless shadowy forms throughout its six rituals.
The feeling of force, that doom is inescapable, beyond any and all control is the exact right exaggeration of forms beyond the impetus of anxietous dread via classic doom metal and seeped the existential Lovecraftian curse of death metal; What common rhythmic, droning ideas might coalesce between an uneven bond of pillars offer something freshly extreme when paired and this is inherently the source of magic within all of Bloodsoaked Necrovoid‘s work. Their earliest style, sound, and atmospheric design pulled from meaningfully similar ancestral grounds where one could see an unspoken atmospheric plane shared between Disembowelment, Timeghoul and more essentially mid-paced acts such as Eternal Darkness, Winter and Mythic. This is not just a suggestion for the sake of completeness the first demo (‘Demo I‘, 2018) and the second (‘Demo II‘, 2018) embodied those traits, forms, and made gloriously extreme stature of them. As if a statue of bleakest emanation ‘Demo I’ presents nigh funeral death/doom levels of standing motion, a swaying and roaring wonder with a far-distant guttural orator. The result was a uniquely claustrophobic expanse, as if trapped in a prison with a cell door open a thousand feet above the Earth. ‘Demo II’ pushed for more of this feeling but lending deeper dread, more active rhythm guitar movements that’d signaled an even more uniquely cavernous sound this time at the floor of a cave and roaring upwards through an inescapably tall crater. You can read my review for ‘The Apocryphal Paths of the Ancient 8th Vitriolic Transcendence’ compilation for a little bit more insight and perhaps an incomplete perspective.
This was the end of the Mark I formation of the band as bassist/co-vocalist Jorge Camacho (Age of the Wolf) would leave the trio, for the sake of seeing a different path forward (I assume) and the band Jose Arrea (drums, synth) Federico Gutierrez (guitars, bass, vocals) would continue as a duo out of necessity. This wasn’t an issue it seems as they’d already had strong working relationship as key members of Astriferous, a similarly worthy death metal band that’d formed around the same time as Bloodsoaked Necrovoid, and the vision for the future was secured. Their Mark II output would begin with a split release (‘Split 2019‘, 2019) with Ratlord already showcasing what a leap their sound would take in preparation for the full-length envisioned. This meant a form of atmospheric death/doom metal that could breathe the entire cosmos in, no longer encased but erupting against the apeiron itself as if to shake open a rift, to modulate towards the frequency of frightful unknown realm. In practical terms this means a sound informed by the aforementioned death/doom classicism of olde but designing the album in the perfected image of many greats. The blunt openness of Necro Schizma, the forceful shuddering death of Spina Bifida and Sorrow, the rumbling nuance of Krypts‘ most atmospheric lean, and perhaps the most clear influence from the first two Rippikoulu demos take this olden outer-spaced demo tape horror unto a truly righteous anti-modernist container. This manages to differentiate from some of the best acts in this style today, you won’t confuse ‘Expelled into the Unknown Depths of the Unfathomable’ for a Spectral Voice, Krypts or Void Rot album and in direct comparison this boils down to not only their riffs and rhythmic mastery of forms but surely I can’t go too deep into an analysis of this record without speaking to its unique atmospheric quality. The depth of it, courtesy of Diego Matamoros engineer/mix and a master from V.K. (Vassafor, Temple Nightside), ensures a dry rotten sound and the presence of a very real entity; This extra push towards perfection made the difference for ‘Achatius’ last year and I would suggest that this album has been enhanced just as appropriately, a unique atmospheric feat that idealizes the strongest percussive clarity of classic demos as well as up-to-your-neck-in-blood death/doom suffocation. The result is clear but again, idealized for the realm of elite sub-genre taste the band are pulling from.
The great blight upon 2020 is actually the six song album, a feat that so few bands have the skill, depth of applied songwriting, or stylistic panache to pull off with any meaningful ardor. This is especially true for a lot of ‘old school’ death metal throwbacks, which now most often reach EP length and duck out to varying results. This unsteadying phenomenon doesn’t at all apply to Bloodsoaked Necrovoid who achieve an immaculate statement within the nigh perfect six song and just over forty minute format. The use of “immaculate” might be a tic or flourish on my part but “perfect” enters the fray with purpose as I won’t make an (too over the top) argument as to why these six songs represent the perfect death/doom experience for my taste but that is ultimately my takeaway after listening to this album with some certain obsession since the first week of September. I’ve discussed some of the finest bands in the sub-genre past and present in reference to the album, the portal in and out of death that the album themes itself with, and all in view of the incredibly representative Morkh album art on display. The complete picture alongside the ease of repeated listening speaks to me directly and commands that there just isn’t a more captivating work that matches all measure of wants and needs within the death/doom realm this year. Of course this leaves little more to pour over and wax upon than the -riff- and in this case the vocals and the drums are just as vitally crammed with personality that they are likewise key for the movement of the machine.
As it turns out Bloodsoaked Necrovoid does not name their songs for the sake of resembling influences so much as the extended titles provide texture, visualization, and in most cases ominous suggestion. We begin at the point of dissociation, release and entombment at once into the grave of void with “Dispossessed in an Asphyxiating Endless Darkness”, a feeling embodied directly via the expression of the song. Not since ‘Remnants of Expansion’ has an album in this style hooked me in immediately via a slowly intensifying sculptured, monumental portal to true death’s doom. We know these fellows have some love for Finnish death metal via Astriferous but this only rarely crops up in the form of certain effects upon the lead guitars, a few tremolo riffs here and there but the album is certainly not a battery of auld references. As that first piece ends we’ve already pushed into something far more difficult to reduce via objective aesthetic study compared to many of Bloodsoaked Necrovoid‘s peers. “Perverted Astral Intoxication for a Death Incarnation” sees the entity absorbed in darkness, a true showcase of Gutierrez‘ incredible deepest roaring register throughout. Here we begin to see his performance blend in some more expressive almost ritualistic, bestial incantations a bit like Warp Chamber‘s debut (or, certain Evoken records) in the sense that they are animalistic noises that add something inhumane to the experience, a tortured beast of a man created after being raptured beyond a death event. This many sound trite on my part but this piece reeks of the finest old school craft, in fact I would suggest it is a deepest embodiment of tangible morbid musical ideals, death/doom with narration always on the precipice of death and insanity. This isn’t misery or the intoxication of fear but true torment as the psyche is ripped apart. “Viciously Consumed by the Unfolding Unknown” is the apex of this and perhaps where folks will take best note of drum techniques that have me mentioning Rippikoulu and Krypts, the skill on display here from Arrea is incredible in terms of finesse and brilliant study of classic forms where the performances are learned enough that he’d add his own flair to each shift of pace. This song is the apex and completed ramp of Side A, where the abyss slithers towards ruin of the ‘self’ a chaos and a deepest descent. The vortex arrives immediately.
“Inescapable Transference of Profane Malignity” will likely feel most related to the second demo tape in spirit, its Finndeath reap of mid-paced death metal riffing slung with ease despite its fairly technical patternation. This is especially impressive because the album was apparently recorded live, of course we can imagine some adornment via synth, extra guitar tracks and a bass performance were added but the sense that the band are present, tangible and yet surrealistic via their dark energy means ‘Expelled into the Unknown Depths of the Unfathomable’ ultimately reads as a realistic performance. Starting Side B with this song means we’ve got our kick of energy from the band via a largely mid-paced riff-heavy song as well as a key separation between halves of the story that could be gleaned from the lyrics and song titles. As we reach the inescapable horror of the entity’s descent we feel it along with him. “Existential Dismemberment by a Transcendental Nothingness” makes heaviest use of guitar effects, spiraling in with psychedelic ooze slithering across the eye like stinging oil. Here I think we get just a hint of some early Disembowelment in the actual structure of the piece where the harried moments towards the end have a bit of “Excoriate” in their energy, emphasized by the horrifying pairing of a blasted outro and growling vocal purging. Truly something has gone wrong with our entity, our ‘self’ as we land upon true doom with obsidian inverted eyes, dead as hungered insects when “Traversing the Threshold of a Treacherous Depraved Absolute” begins in its tension-rapt ~2:45 minute introductory salvo of doom riff. From there cosmic horror is unleashed in waves of cyclic mid-to-fast paced riffing, movements that spiral in fractal patterns and whip between temporal space. Chaos becomes deliberate linearity only to dissolve back into a blurry, orgiastic storm of menacing curls. We are treated to more maniac blasting and arm-gnawing furioso as it ends.
In reflection of each successive listen I’d consistently felt that I’d begin in love with some of the similarities to favorite tastes of my own and once I’d left the piece at its ending point it was clear exactly who Bloodsoaked Necrovoid were or, at least their intentions were conveyed in a distinct way that doesn’t appear to be plain iteration or too clearly rooted in another act’s work. Beyond that their strongest moments are numerous enough that it all feels engaging, destructive, grandiose yet right there… a horror that grows in the corner of the garage and expands to devour the world in just over 41 minutes. The real feat here is that they manage this without false additives, glossy production values, or an army of a thousand guitarists. The feeling of genuine evil death metal is at the heart of what makes this such an impactful release for my own taste. It is rare mastery that must be acknowledged as a gift to those who have seen the continuum of all death/doom metal and desire the heart of the craft unearthed with serious intent, something viable for future in admiration of the most effective works of the past. It only makes sense to give a highest possible rating for the release, not to suggest they’ve no room to grow but that this debut achieves the exemplar standard right out of the portal.
|TITLE:||Expelled into the Unknown Depths of the Unfathomable|
|LABEL(S):||Iron Bonehead Productions|
|RELEASE DATE:||November 6th, 2020|
|BUY & LISTEN:||Bandcamp [All Formats]|
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