Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Cenotaph - Riding Our Black Oceans (CD Review)

01.The Solitudes
03.Grief To Obscuro
04.Macabre Locust Celesta
05.Among The Abrupt
06.Infinitum Valet
07.The Silence Of Our Black Oceans
08.Soul Profundis
09.Ectasia Tenebrae

Edgardo González (Vocals)
Julio Viterbo (Guitar)
Fernando Garcilazo (Bass)
Oscar Clorio (Drums)
Cesar Sanchez (Guitar)

Originally released way back in 1994 and now reissued by Chaos Records.
Cenotaph was one of the first and widely acknowledged to be the best Mexican Death Metal band in the '90s. The band released a powerful debut but it was on this album that it started taking the sound forward. This album is melodic and technical, but not in the way you'd assume. This is reminiscent of At The Gates circa 'The Red in the Sky is Ours', Sentenced's 'North from Here', Dissection, Unanimated and Necrophobic, all Swedish bands indeed but the Mexican band uses the influences in a unique way - the song structures are complicated and hard to decipher. Even after a couple of decades, the music remains interesting and challenging.

It was probably this album that influenced the country mates like Under Moonlight Sadness, The Chasm, The Forensic, Sol Negro (originally), Majestic Downfall and others where it came to infusing melodies into Death Metal particularly.
They disbanded in 2002 though i suspect that a new line up of the band may appear at some point.

While the album seems to start in a traditional manner with 'The Solitudes' the six minute 'Severance' starts to throw in a lot more, melodic guitars played at hyper speed, clever timings and some nice spken parts alongside the growls.

Next stand out song is 'Among The Abrupt' with its near Black Metal sound then for a complete change comes the acoustic/ambient title track with its simple heavy metal ending.
Acoustic elements are then used in 'Soul Profundis' breaking up the general brutal onslaught, finally 'Ectasia Tenebrae' could these days be described as 'progressive death metal' with some excellent guitar playing throughout.

I can see why this album was considered so 'Important' 20 years ago and it has aged well, sounding fresh and exciting as it did back then.

Rating 9/10
For fans Of: At The Gates, Dissection, Death, Cynic, Opeth

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