Review Summary: A welcome addition to the Blackened Death Metal genre.
Over the past few years, it seems that more and more black metal bands are incorporating avant-garde influences into their music. While newer bands such as Portal and Lugubrum add weird time signatures and saxophones to their brand of black metal, even more established bands such as the mighty Mayhem have experimented with diverse song-structures and industrial influences. Hailing from France, avant-garde black metal newcomer, Drastus released their second EP Serpent's Chalice - Materia Prima
in 2009, displaying the bands sickening combination of avant-garde blackened death metal.
A good comparison for figuring out the sound of Drastus would be to say they sound like a more black metal incline Portal. Despite the first two tracks "0" , "Symbols of the Unconscious" and the last track "Serpent's Chalice - Materia Prima" solely containing ambient soundscapes and chants, the other two songs of the album are filled with a blistering black metal onslaught. Take for instance "Resonance Of Naught" which opens with a simple, yet unbelievably heavy death metal style guitar line and a pounding drum line. As the song progresses, the tempo picks up and the song increasingly begins to gain more black metal qualities such as tremolo picked power chords and blast beats. The song also features an ambient bridge, yet instead of creating a tranquil mood as most bands tend to do, this section seems more suffocating, as if the very chords grasp your neck to choke the life out of you. Next track "Cygnus X1" offers more of the same; bleak black metal, with death metal like technicality. Sole member Drastus really shows some skill as a multi-instrumentalist, with vile, tremolo picked guitars and some brutally fierce drum lines. Also, he seems to have a keen ear for truly eerie ambiance textures, with the tones presented always coming off as more melancholic then anything else.
While the Serpent's Chalice - Materia Prima
is a relatively short EP, it is most definitely worth checking out for those who enjoy their black metal, extra black. Combining black and death metal, with creepy ambiance, this record is a great starting place for any of those who would want to start listening to Drastus.