Review Summary: A decent throwback to old school death metal.
You’ve heard it all before: the galloping riffs, the swift drumming, the guttural screams of despair; The Wakedead Gathering are here to run you through the familiar formula once again.
Since Scream Bloody Gore back in 1987, innumerable bands have attempted to emulate that doctrine of death metal. Some have succeeded – Cryptopsy, Morbid Angel and the like, come to mind – while others have not. It is always refreshing to see a truly competent modern band bring an impressive album to the surface in this genre. The Wakedead Gathering have done just that with their 2010 debut LP, ‘Tenements of Ephemera’.
There is little ground being broken here; listeners who are waiting for a new wave of death metal revolution will have to look elsewhere. What is offered, is a set of tracks which will be pleasing to the ear for a number of spins, but also a set of tracks which will inevitably become indistinctive.
This release is unique, in that it was solely written and performed by one single musician, Andrew Lampe; it is astonishing that a single performer could record each instrument, as well as vocals, with such authority. Lampe is clearly not afraid to drop the tempo in order to crush their listener – in fact, the most distinguishing aspect of his sound is this ability to slow the world down to a crawl. The Wakedead Gathering appear much more comfortable in walking rather than running, which is fine, seeing as this is where their material becomes truly heavy and more appealing. The rhythm section keeps up, and keeps things chugging along.
Vocally, Lampe's performance is rather impressive. It may be the same rasping cry that most bands approach this genre with, but gee it goes down well, particularly in partnership with the slower sections of their songs. The words behind the lyrics are reasonable enough; ‘Wasps from the Chamber of the Divine’ is about as fascinating as a song subject will get on this release.
All in all, and particularly for a debut effort, ‘Tenements of Ephemera’ is a solid album. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, and there really isn’t anything to be found here which is greatly inspired, but it’s still as heavy as a dugong wearing a lead hat. If you like this kind of stuff, The Wakedead Gathering are well worth checking out – this will probably be near to the top of my death metal favourites for this year.