Ævangelist - Omen Ex Simulacra (Debemur Morti)

Psalms from the abyss...

In metal, it is always useful to keep in mind the various methods by which artists represent profoundly unknowable topics -- death, the progression (or decline) of the human race, etc. This in many ways can be seen as the creative mind applied to discerning that which may never be understood. Heady stuff. Ævangelist's 2012 debut, De Mastication Mortuorum in Tumulis (Debemur Morti), began with the question, "This is how we destroy the world?," giving way to a nightmarish soundscape that seemed to implicate our own mechanized existence as the irreversible answer. On Omen ex Simulacra, (Debemur Morti) Ævangelist hone their agonized message to a fine point with another grip of end-times psalms.

The drum machines that pistoned away on Tumulis are once again employed here.  Yet simultaneously, Ævangelist's sound is firmly rooted in an organic death tradition, as evidenced by the first pummeling riff of opener, Veils, churning indefatigably onward. In fact, in the riffs one can hear the echoes of old-school death metal along the lines of Leprosy (Death) and Considered Dead (Gorguts).

The exclusive use of drum machines for percussion on this album could be a sticking point, but here it is seamlessly integrated into the overall sound and heightens the sheer gnarlitude of the music. Just listen to the opening salvo of Relinquished Destiny for evidence. In fact, the percussive element in large part structures the composition of the album -- movements from doom stomps, all the way through to disorienting hyper-blasts tend to cycle over a single repeating riff. Likewise, exploiting a technology for its unique qualities can provide atmospheric gold. The cymbal flurries on Abysscape, for example, sound like whirring blades of a piece with the larger, beastly machine at work here.

One could fault this album for being a bit redundant at times, and some of the more overtly "atmospheric" portions of the songs amount to little more than indistinct female screams -- a bit chintzy, if you ask me. Yet the music is irrepressibly compelling, formula or no. Chief noisemaker Matron Thorn has an ear for apocalyptic composition. Textural disparities between the subterranean seethe of the guitar, and the stuttering precision of the drums only heighten a sense of encroaching doom. Vocalist Ascaris commands various moods and tones, from anguished screams to guttural and daemonic roars.

According to their press, Ævangelist sound the clarion call for a return to the vortex of nothingness from which we are spawned, and to which we shall return. Yet their sound offers a prelude to this final chapter, a glimpse into a machine of some vast scale which will bring about Hell on earth.

Omen Ex Simulacra is out now.