ÆPOCH – The Scryer

ÆPOCH – The Scryer

To sound classic, heavy, original and catchy (as in, say, classic Slayer) is a tough task for many. Most bands either go out of their way to sound heavy and extreme seemingly without regard for memorability, or are very catchy and melodic but at the cost of heaviness. Not so with Æpoch, the Cambridge, Ohio progressive technical death quartet who not only have the proper balance of the aforementioned elements but also comfortably and seamlessly straddle death and thrash on this, their 2nd EP after the debut full length "Awakening Inception" (2018).

"The Scryer" is a very short release (29.46 minutes at 6 tracks) but its strength lies in the 2, highly complex, long yet incredibly memorable tracks, which show the mastery of Æpoch members, that is, Brett Macintosh (vocals, fretless bass), Marcus Arar (guitars, backing vocals), Ira Lehtovaara (guitar) and Greg Calvarho (drums). I mentioned Slayer in the opening paragraph for a good reason, as both "Shrapnel Baptized" and "Ozonhilation" are highly Slayer-ic in both construction and sound which in no way takes away from their freshness and originality. While the former track could also easily fit somewhere between Death’s "Human" and "Individual Thought Patterns" in every respect but also has that classic Monstrosity riffage, the latter starts out with a very technical and tasty riff which both intro’s and outtro’s the song, with a massive Deicide-al riffs from their best albums. It is a sheer metalhead pleasure to listen to these two on repeat as they are equally fantastic.

The rest of the songs, be it Through The Eyes Of The Dead-ly title track (think "Malice") or the Morbid Angel-ic and Mastodon-ian closer "A Brainwashed Civilization" are not that far behind in quality, none below a 5 mark, but they don’t quite grab me as much as the aforementioned 2 perfections so in that seek the reasons for the 5/6 score.

Massive and memorable "The Scryer" is a powerful statement from a band which isn’t shy to take the best from the best (such as on the opening heavily Opeth-ian instrumental "Devil Twin Pt. I: The Birth Of A Demon") in order to create their own pulverizing and relentless sound. I have never heard of these guys before but I will definitely search for their debut full length as well as eagerly await the hopefully soon coming 2nd one. Meanwhile, I suggest you give "Shrapnel Baptized" and "Ozonhilation" more than one whirl.