Reviewed: October, 2019
Released: 2019, Everlasting Spew Records
Reviewer: Jesse Edwards
The third and last chapter/EP in a series of 3 for ENGULF! A new chapter of dark and brutal death metal. Based in New Jersey, Engulf is Hal Microutsicos’ one-man band, drawing influence from all dark corners of the extreme music realm. Hal is also part of death/black metal band Blasphemous.
“A continuation of the story arc introduced by the Gold and Rust EP, Transcend follows our human protagonist through an out of body experience in which he witnesses the three otherworldly entities as they travel to earth through portals unknown to execute ‘the event’” (Hal Microutsicos).
I was surprised to learn that this was the third in a series of 3 EPs from Engulf; I’d not heard of the project before listening to ‘Transcend’, but I loved the concept, loved the album artwork, and by god do I love the music!
This EP absolutely destroys from start to finish with highly proficient musicianship carrying interesting and inventive death metal throughout 4 blisteringly intense tracks.
Let’s take ‘em one by one:
‘Bane Of Fire’ begins with a slow, brooding introduction, with the various elements being introduced like some ominous beast raising from its slumber. You’re then thrown straight into the madness of ‘Transcend’, catchy riffs, with excellent drum grooves to drive the proceedings. There’s something distinctly refreshing about Engulf’s sound on this EP, and not once did I feel like Hal is touching on any of the genre’s clichés.
We segue straight into ‘From Chasms Deep’, and this track kicks off with on hell of a riff! Frantic blasting backs up inventive chugging grooves throughout. The drumming takes centre stage here, Mr Microutsicos clearly possesses some incredible skills on all of the instruments he plays on this EP (which is all of them). I do feel that this track loses some momentum towards the end, but it’s still a highly welcome assault on the ear drums.
‘Birthed Into An Empty Grave’ is one man’s mission to pummel you into a bloody pulp, writhing grooves contorting the mind of the listener until you just can’t help but bang your head in unison with the cacophony.
‘Drowned In The River Styx’ is like a showcase for the drumming skills of Hal Microutsicos. A monstrous riff around the 2:20 mark seems to lead the track to a slow death, only to be resurrected with frantic blasting to draw this short yet brutal EP to a satisfying conclusion.
I really do recommend Engulf and specifically ‘Transcend’ to fans of the genre and would definitely agree with the statement provided in the press-pack: for fans of Hate Eternal, early Gorguts, early Ulcerate, early Decapitated.
Track this down, buy it, break your neck.