Released: 2015, Transcending Obscurity
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Though they've been around for a decade, this is the first I've heard of French death metallers Affliction Gate. But after giving their third EP – they have also issued one full length – a go, I'm definitely going to do some catching up with their back catalog.
The deliberate, chug-and-surge death metal the band offer up on Dying Alone recalls Obituary or Finnish legends Demigod and delivers a righteous pummeling over its roughly 17-minute run time. And despite boasting only four tracks, the EP covers a good bit of sonic ground and shows the band can mix and match tempos and moods with some savvy.
“Negative Lucidity” gallops out of the gate to a double bass-driven beat and gritty crush of riffs, and is punctuated by several heaving breaks that are, well, rather breakdowny. “Devising Our Own Chains” has even more of a back and forth, with its bracing chug accelerating with d-beat bursts that then take an about-face with meaty hooks.
The grim title track builds in atmosphere, contrasting its stampeding midsection by slowing the tempo to an aching crawl for the mournful guitar solo that closes it out. It's the EP's most evocative song. “Manicheism Inertia,” which concludes the EP, on the other hand, is all muscle and bluster, a ferocious track the explodes from the relative quiet of “Dying Alone” right in to your face. It's a jarring finale.
Dying Alone would seem the perfect sampler for Affliction Gate's sound, and makes a great introduction to the band – especially for someone like myself who was unfamiliar with their previous efforts. It's got plenty of grit, bombast and brutality – especially in frontman Herostratos' gravelly vocals – but it's also got enough dexterity and panache to make things interesting enough to pique one's curiosity. Or at least mine.