Released: 2015, RTM Productions
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
I've got to plead ignorance about the Bulgarian metal scene. In fact, the death metal quintet Enthrallment – who have been around for nearly 20 years – may well be the first/only Bulgarian band I've encountered.
The band's fifth album, Eugenic Wombs, however, makes for an interesting introduction. On the one hand, it's a brutality absorbing, technically proficient, intimidating outing - thanks in large part to the imposing vocals of Plamen Bakardzhiev and the dense, propulsive rhythms of bassist Rumen Pavlov and founding drummer Ivo Ivanov. On the other, it's got some production-value issues – due either to budgetary or studio limitations, one would think – that makes something of a quagmire of the overall sound.
Indeed, save for the caterwauling Morbid Angel-like leads, the guitaring throughout is a muffled jangle with an odd surf-rocky tone not unlike Slayer's World Painted Blood. The uber-gritty, bottom-heavy mix buries the riffing under a veritable cascade of busy bass runs and drum battery delivered at near relentless velocities, leaving the album to sound like the pyroclastic flow of an exploding volcano.
But there is certainly something to be said for a “fast-moving current of hot gas and rock” and the damage it can inflict. Even with its murky sound, Eugenic Wombs is a corrosive affair with a tenacity and raw power that is undeniable.
Bakardzhiev's attack-dog vocals are matched by his bandmates' ruthless, freewheeling delivery that recalls vintage Suffocation, Immolation or pre-prog Gorguts in its rough-hewn complexity. And though some of the subtle undercurrents get lost in the gnarliness of the overall mix, there is a certain rough-hewn grandeur to “Enslaved By Your Own Seed,” “Inspired Lunatic” or “Path To Silence” that can't help but impress as it peels the flesh from your face.