Reviewed: August 2020
Released: 2020, Transcending Obscurity
Reviewer: Demitri Levantis
Bands who fuse black and death metal are among this critic’s favourite genres. Blackened death metal is all well and good but it is nice to come across a band with a very catchy death metal sound but with black metal influences, which is what Finns Sepulchral Curse have done.
I was very impressed when I whacked on their new album, “Only Ashes Remain”, 45 minutes of blissfully dreadful occult-themed death metal which had the grooves and grinding tremolos that made me think of all the great bands from their country who put it on the metal map.
Screams and fine growling from vocalist Kari Kankaanpää set up the album and blend well with triplets and pristine blast beats from drummer Tommi Ilmanen, who holds the framework of the putrid onslaught these Finns have concocted for our enjoyment. Replay value is slathered all over this beauty of a record with “Into the Depths Unknown”, “Swarming Blackness” and “Eyes Inside”, all showcasing how versatile this band is.
It isn’t just an old school sound on this album, I felt the slower tracks had breakdowns that showed the DM scene how you make your music slow but not irritating to those of us who cannot stand how saturated the scene became with boring tech-death and deathcore over the last decade. I can see bands like Deserted Fear, Hyperion, Demilich and Cemetery Urn sharing the stage with these Scandinavians and I really hope they play the UK when gigs resume.
Overall, this is an album that puts Finnish DM on a high level and says the country has not mellowed when it comes to the most extreme of genres. If I were to say anything bad about it, the final track “Maan Tuhkien Uneen” was a little too slow and elongated for me, with distortion that made me think of stoner metal – one of my least favourite genres. However, I will not let that dampen the praise I have for this band and will recommend it to anyone who wants classic DM in their musical arsenal, or is a keen follower of any bands I’ve mentioned in this review.
Great job, Sepulchral Curse – a truly fine debut.