(Sepulchral Voice Records, 2014)
Drowned is an old band, over 20 years old. Their discography is filled with demos, one Ep, and now this first full-length. The guitarist, who is an ex-guitarist of Necros Christos, has been in the band since the beginning (the other two members are also in the band Essenz among other things). The band used to have Mors Dalos Ra of Necros Christos, and music wise these two bands have had of course (because of these two members) some things in common. These two bands now also share the same label Sepulchral Voice Records, which has some similar sounding bands in their ranks, although they all have an atmosphere of their own, and Drowned is also something original in it’s own way.
The album starts with a calm ominous intro-like song “Die Niederen Weihen” (reminiscent of the latest Ruins Of Beverast album with it’s spoken but growling vocals, which may or may not have something to do with the vocalist and bassist being also a live member of Ruins Of Beverast), and as the song continues in a very slow manner, this is what we might expect the album to be at first, but we soon find ourselves to be mistaken. As the drums change gradually to faster beatings in the second song “Antiprism”, we are reminded of stuff like early Obituary with it’s slower and faster changes, but Drowned has a lot more tricks up their sleeve.
The album continues in completely gripping and interesting ways, keeping the listener hooked at all times. Sometimes you get the feeling you are in Florida in the early nineties, sometimes you are taken to Sweden of the same era, but always in a Drowned way. The songs are filled with amazing riffs throughout the album, never going too fast to sound like anything else than pure fucken old-school death metal, but never going slow enough to make us feel wanting a change in the parts. Perfect symbioses.
The tremolo-like guitars mix with the damps and the slower strokes fantastically, and the technical abilities of the guitarist are shown in many parts without being too performing. Just the right amount of technicality and groovy deathly doom. Also the bass-performance is of magnificent quality. The drummer does his job just as well as the guitarist and bassist, staying always in the concept of the music style, but keeping things interesting with small details here and there. The vocals are done kinda in the same manner as in Necros Christos, sounding spoken like more than loud growls, with just the right amount of reverb and echo.
The overall sound of the album is great, not too murky and not too clear. Drowned does not sound low-fi enough to be in the deep underground, or too produced to sound boring in that sense.
The music doesn’t venture anywhere outside the realm of death metal at any point, but using only this formula, Drowned manage to sound amazingly fresh, intriguing and multifaceted. This album is a great example of music being preformed in the limits of a particular music style but showing you something new at every turn. The album has so much material in it, it keeps us interested for numerous listens ahead.
If you are looking for the death metal album that made you worship this style of music in the early nineties, or if you just wanna find out what the hell is all this fuzz about old-school death fucking metal, this album will give you exactly that, with updated production.
Only Death Is Real.
9/10 – Antti Mikonmäki