Review Summary: Like a 12-eyed 7-legged 18-horned massive alien beast from millions of light years away.Return to the Void
is very close to what is present off of the album cover. It is an album that goes full-throttle into a death metal/thrash metal crossover tinged with this looming sense of obscurity, like you are traveling through the vast entirety of space. Everything off this album intertwines in a way such as to feed into this feeling, all the while retaining its blunt force. This isn’t to say that there are not hiccups or flaws through this album that hinder this sometimes, however the moments where this record remains dark and crushing are certainly much greater.
The greatest feat that really adds to this album's atmosphere is the guitar work. There are plenty of crunchy riffs as well as moments of respite, where the guitar really gives way to some very ominous passages. “Nekrocosm” is a fantastic example of this. After some very death’n’roll like riffs, it drops to an eerily silence, barely permeating it like a pair of blood red eyes peering through a dreary nights mist. These are some of the strongest moments off of Return to the Void
as it shows Execrations ability to play with dynamics while still retaining a fairly savage sound. Unfortunately for Execration, the drums, while certainly proficient and creative, are rather tinny and sterile sounding. They are also mixed oddly high and overproduced, which is unfortunate because the barrage of blast beats can often bury the quality riffs underneath. This is thankfully the only truly major flaw of the album, but it’s enough that manages to cause the album to stray from its path just a bit. In all fairness, even the drums have fantastic moments, especially the tribal and chaotic drumming in the middle of “Cephalic Transmissions”, so even this flaw is forgivable.
The only thing left to talk about is the vocals, which are pretty much standard fare. They’re powerful, sometimes they growl, sometimes they shout. For the most part, they don’t really rise above being average to semi-good. However, there are certainly moments where they absolutely ugly and compliment the harrowing sound of the music very well (e.g, “Unicursal Horrorscope”). Parts like these really represent the best in the album-grim, spacious, absolutely insane. There are points where it sounds somewhat ridiculous, such as the rather shoe-horned falsetto present off of “Eternal Recurrence”, yet there are also parts that accomplish the standards that such an artwork sets (again, “Universal Horrorscope”). Sometimes the album really does sound like an uncontrollable beast bursting forth from its containment, sometimes it truly just sounds ***ed up and alien.