Genre revivalism is a bit of a problematic phenomenon. Usually it results in music that grounds itself in nostalgia rather than whatever it was that caused a movement to arise initially. This then leads not only to a severe lack of context but also a setting that is largely devoid of any noteworthy contributions, especially when compared to the original contributors. However, this is not necessarily always the case, and the recent emergence of revivalist old school death metal provides plenty of evidence to support the notion that not all dead genres will stay dead forever. The success of this new breed of old school styled death metal benefits from the fact that the context from which it was originally spawned never really left (or was never there in the first place) and has given birth to more than a few new acts that stay true to the old formulas while breathing enough new life (or death, whichever suits you) into the style to hold their own against the seminal bands of the original movement.
Hailing from Finland, the birthplace of one of the most putrid early death metal scenes, Gorephilia place themselves firmly within the confines of this new wave of old school death metal bands. Coincidently, they also happen to be one of the better acts to emerge from this scene, and their debut full length Embodiment of Death
is an almost 40 minute piece of filthy old school death metal filled with more than enough well executed ideas and rotten riffs to stand on its own amongst its sea of influences.
Having released what is essentially a four song EP only a year ago, Embodiment of Death
sees Gorephilia tread essentially that same path all while making a few worthwhile adjustments to their approach that result in a tighter, more focused, and more diverse effort. While Ascend to Chaos
, the previous EP, tended to get a bit loose around the edges in some places, Embodiment of Death
clears up any pervious problem the band may have had. The ideas and motifs presented flow together effortlessly and the songs contain a healthy amount of sophisticated tempo changes, prevalent on tracks like Exist to Suffer and Saints Without Souls, and tasteful songwriting. Perhaps the most drastic improvement is seen in the instrumental performance, especially when it comes to drums. The execution is very nearly flawless and while the drumming on Ascend to Chaos
was by no means bad, Gorephilia's drummer has certainly stepped up his game. More importantly, Gorephilia have proven that you don't need to be sloppy to maintain that thick, dirty, organic sound essential for a good death metal recording.
Embodiment of Death
essentially sounds like a razor sharp synthesis of the mighty Convulse and their fellow countrymen Demigod. Gorephilia give life once again to that thick, putrid, doom tinged gloom that made the original Finnish death metal scene so good and execute it with respectful precision. It is very difficult to criticize any band for being derivative in a setting that is fueled by the spirit of revivalism, especially when the effort is as well executed as this. If you are expecting a slab of razor sharp old school death metal filth, Embodiment of Death
is exactly what you are looking for. If not, why the hell are you even listening?