Review Summary: The endless fire
April is proving to be quite fruitful in old-school death metal side projects. After Caustic Wound's cavernous grind hybrid debut Death Posture
, it is now time to witness the birth of another crossbred named Black Curse. But unlike their stylistic counterparts, who added grind into their formula, these Denver lads dug their hole in the deepest circle of hell. This unholy new blend of death and black metal was forged by members of Spectral Voice, Vasaeleth, and Primitive Man, and whenever the word Spectral Voice gets stuck somewhere, my radar immediately switches on, as I find Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
one of the best death metal releases of the past decade. We're all very aware of the fact that this formula isn't a novelty, yet the question that matters is the degree of quality impregnated in each hybrid, and how it manages, or not, to shape a strong identity able to distinguish it from the surrounding pack. It's certainly not an easy task, but it seems Black Curse has achieved just that, by finding a recipe that establishes a stable balance between the two genres. Nevertheless, this balance isn't born out of the equal mixing of the parts, but rather in the band's clever way of adding a blackened layer into its death metal DNA. And in my opinion, that's the secret of Endless Wound
As we enter Endless Wound
, we seem to dive deeply into the weird artwork as if we were suddenly surrounded by unmanageable flames. The heat becomes almost unbearable. 'Charnel Rift' emerges through fire, blending death metal's filthy fierceness with doom intensity reminiscent of Spectral Voice. Above this melange we find the blackened layer I mentioned earlier, mainly due to Eli Wendler's impressive wide-ranging vocals, whose powerful expression is definitely among the album's highlights. Although distinct, the tracks have a somewhat similar approach, combining mostly blast beat, mid-paced and doom tempos, always wrapped within a filthy demonic atmosphere. The riffs are among the best the genre has offered this year, lethal yet creative and contagious, as is the rhythm section whose organic delivery catapults the album towards overwhelming rhythmic grounds. Songs move fiercely, in close contact, but always finding just the right space to distinguish themselves from each other. From the track package I would highlight 'Enraptured by Decay', and the massive 'Finality I Behold'. Both are similar in character, combining doom densities with faster and more intense sequences, thus creating the necessary dynamics and contrasts. The vigorous closing track, through its corrosive Celtic Frost-esque riffs and chaotic final solos, ends the album on a very high note, leaving the listener with a mixed sense of fulfillment and despair, thereby proving that the album has achieved its ultimate purpose.
I would like to end by going back to the beginning of my second paragraph, looking at the artwork again and at the creature coming out of the fire. Each of us will certainly have a different interpretation about the symbolism portrayed. But one thing we can all agree on is that nothing good is coming out of that window. Which is exactly what a death metal aficionado is waiting for. More than just an impressive debut, Endless Wound
is also destined to be one of the most interesting blackened caverns to be explored this year.