AMPHISBAENA – Amphisbaena
Amphisbaena’s self-titled ep has actually been around in digital form since December 16th of last year but only on September 9, 2016 did Iron Bonehead Productions released it in a physical form. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first seeing the weird looking cover that screamed "I am a demo and of such quality". Little did I know what gem it hid. My first listening impression was not unlike the first time I heard Morbid Angel’s "Covenant" (Earache Records, 1993), or, more recently, Ulcerate’s "Everything Is Fire" (Willowtip Records, 2009) a feeling of getting touched by something fantastically fresh and innovative while extreme and not for everyone. Amphisbaena is a freaking monster. Described by the label and Encyclopedia Metallum as Black/Death Metal construct it actually contains fair amounts of doom, a little crust and grind while staying profoundly evil and foreboding. The sound is both muddy and clear but neither is overpowering. Amphisbaena combines the filth and the clarity of the best death/black metal hell has on offer for their already signature sound.The vocals of H.T. (ex-Weapon) and the bassist Paulus Kressman (ex-Incantation) are creepy, vicious, vile and disturbing whether they are growls or melodeclamations or whisper rasps. The technicality displayed by the guitarists N.K.L.H. and /LI/B/EL is stupefying as they take clues from Deathspell Omega, Ulcerate, as well as Morbid Angel (think "Blessed Are The Sick") and Nile, particularly combining the guitars with quasi-instrumental and atmospheric passages yet not forsaking the melody (The Devouring Will) while pummeling the listener within an inch of his or her life with first-class relentless drumming that has no owner, apparently.
The opening "G.O.A.G. may begin as if it were a Nile album as a slow doomy death metal passage deludes you into a false sense of comfortable extremity but at 1:40 brutal drums will simply unleash hell on you and have fun with your soon lifeless carcass for the next 1:18 seconds. Remarkably, there’s so much going on underneath the whirlwind you will never register it all before the song ends. Don’t beg for mercy yet, though, as the follow-up "Chthonic Macrophagi" will continue the torture that will make you rediscover yourself as a born again masochist. Ok, so this stuff is actually far more brutal than the first three Morbid Angel records, you think but suddenly the music slows down and even ushers in some melody and now has some Watain in it but not enough to call this a Watain song by any stretch of imagination. The guitarwork underneath the riffs is horrifying, like a wail of a soul in purgatory. Are you comfortable yet? Here comes "Invocation of Pitch" to take your ass, plain and simple, in a manner of the most brutal and relentless Hate Eternal yet. The brutality of this song cannot be overstated. Amphisbaena crowns the drawing and quartering of the listener with the over 11 minute closer "Devouring Will" which reaches the height of extremity by alternating between slow doomy passages immediately followed by lightening fast barrage with the slow downs abundantly laced with atonal riffery and suddenly, when you can’t take anymore, as if on cue, an atmospheric sequence saves you for about 20 seconds only to pummel you again as Amphisbaena gives you a semblance of hope so they can crush it to pieces. Yet now, at 5:29, a beautiful melodic riff takes you to Valhalla and it won’t be long now, but just so you don’t get to comfortable they keep those drums relentless and get you for one lust smackdown around 6:40 lo until you taste those drums in your gut before an ambient/atmospheric passage takes you to where no one ever returns from. You have been pardoned with death.
Mark my words, under proper label care these guys not may, not could, but WILL be as huge as Nile if not bigger. Iron Bonehead trusted something special, something that could set a new course for both death and black metal. Absolutely fantastic stuff. Amphisbaena, pretty please with sugar on top, do make a full album of this awesomeness and soon!