Review Summary: One of Japan’s greatest achievements. No fillers, just pure solid Death/Doom.
When I think of Japan I think of hentai porn, orange and blue hair, and bad a-ss samurais, but who would have known one of the best Death/Doom metal albums could have arisen from such a source. This is not to say that Japan shouldn’t have the capability to create such feats of good music but I never expected Death/Doom to take the light in this case. Transgressor’s first and only LP entitled “Ether For Scapegoat” [EFS] was released during the pinnacle of the OSDM scene in 1992 and is the definition of a timeless album.
The level of melodious skill, choice for musical notations, tempo changes, and productive atmosphere’s is where “EFS” succeeds. This currently still active quartet, formed in 1989, clearly took their time in making sure every moment of this release was cohesive and never detracted from the disparity and warmth in its passages. Playing the style of Death/Doom metal allows for great versatility so faster death tempos can be blended into slower prodding doom-like tempos. In the opening track, “Whiteness”, slow building power chords with harmonizing melodies pulse up and down with synth layers, occasional guitar acoustics and spoken deep vocals. This surplus of elements fits the albums overall mood well. As you feel something evil is approaching you can’t help but feel good about it because the groovy death like riffs makes you wanna bang your head; it’s ironic but factual. “Mortal Agony” contains some interesting choices for notes beginning with a type of lead/solo to fast hitting tremolos that go through various obscure progressions. The doom passages are never boring or overdone.
The level of replay value is extremely high on “EFS”. Transgressor is fully of aware of the need to create exciting music that holds true to form yet showing the genre’s capabilities. Tracks like “Transmigration” and the closer “Limbless Doom” contain several catchy riffs without sounding cheesy is the slightest bit. They even throw in pinch harmonics from time to time to keep you on your toes. The production has a good balance of crust and clarity that lies perfectly on your ears. There are no standout musicians; rather each band member brings the same level of skill which makes the “EFS” so cohesive and unified.
If you appreciate good Death/Doom music and want to hear the best the genre has to offer you need to hear this now. For this level of musicianship coming from a Japanese band I am very impressed and you should be too.