Review Summary: Melodic and ferocious
Escotrilium with their latest album Inhuma have managed to show off all of the best aspects of what blackened death metal has to offer. The album opens right out of the gates immediately with a crushing track, Into Daeth Hausth, that displays a vast array of death metal styles. Incantation-inspired bellows and overblown brutal drums bury this track but the band takes manages to make it more than mindless blunt force by adding in a strong touch of nuance throughout the track. There are particular moments across Into Daeth Husth that are downright melodic, some off-signature moments really add to the feel and help to shake up the monotony. Although the opener is one of the weaker tracks on the album it manages to do an excellent job of setting the tone.
Escotrilium always manages to find constant small ways to delight and surprise. Many tracks on a surface level feel samey – mostly in part to the drums – but as you dig deeper there are many moments where the band branches out from the basic formula to provide something exciting – this switch dichotomy between basic brutalism and fantastic melodic melodies really helps to keep the album feeling constantly fresh and engaging. Black metal and death metal at their core ideas are after all, the foundations for which many of our beloved bands are founded – it is this switch between new and familiar that makes Escotrilium a surprisingly easy and enjoyable listen.
While there are many excellent riffs on this album – we have to again talk about the drums. The drumming may be the weakest element of the band – the band manages to switch things up with introduction of new elements and riff styles but all too often the drums just pound as hard as possible. The drums being so loud in the mix does the rest of the band no favour, it is an odd production choice that they would put the least interesting instrument of the band at the very forefront of the mix. The drums are often so loud, they come across as abrasive – not in the ‘wow this is an intense and interesting way’ but ‘please stop’ kind of way.
There is a great deal of influences on display with this release ranging from Incantation, Carcass to Blut Aus Nord. There is a great sense of pacing to be found here, safe and familiar blackened death metal styles are intertwined with melodic, dark and tense moments to add just enough umph to shake up the formula.