Review: Karkosa “Esoterrorcult” [Redefining Darkness Records]

Review: Karkosa “Esoterrorcult” [Redefining Darkness Records]

- in Reviews

There is not much known about the band Karkosa: these guys are from Fort Wayne, IN, formed not a long time ago and released their debut EP Harvest of the Adept in 2018. After six years they are ready to release their first longplay Esoterrorcult. Actually, that’s all. Oh, I forgot: the genre is blackened death metal.

Until now I never heard of Karkosa, their EP had also passed by, so I took the Esoterrorcult with a clear head and zero expectations. That was for good because this album is one malicious and blackest void and you fall into it with a smile, distinguishing all shades of black during your falling. Songwriting skills and techniques are joined here as well, delivering infernal dissonant brilliance.

After a short, grim intro, the opener “Encorcelled Spirits” buries the listener under the avalanche of technical and mighty death metal riffs from Brenton Weaver and Alden Debee. Ian Lemberg’s drumming is really outstanding: it is almost endless diabolical attack of blast beats and double bass. Hellish singing provided by Raphael Palacios, who showed his wide range of various extreme vocals (I think, his high point is in “The Tomb of Hyram Abiff”, where Raphael showed it all fully.) Such black metal insanity with death metal ferocity persist at “Poison of God”: pummeling riffs torture the listener before they change to some black metal, but right after it there is an interlude where music becomes heavier, also it would seem it can’t be heavier than that.

However, it’s not only a perfect blending of black and death, delivered with ire, makes this album such memorable. For example, an attempt to go grind and make the heaviest sound in “Domini Sanctum” coexists with grim interlude and clean guitar sound. “Remnants of Creation” has a throat singing over black metal. “The Freezing Shadow of Eternal Winter” goes almost progressive while “Cyclopian Gateway” surprises with its relatively melodic solo. And the album ends with “Angelus Rejectiones,” where riffs are changing every 20 seconds and the pace goes from fast to middle mostly every minute. At the same time, this infernal brilliance sounds as a solid piece (through something there are sharp transitions and pattern changes), versatile and very interesting. However, the last sentence refers to the whole album. Maybe I should mention “Axis Mundi” too, suddenly melodic and grim (of course) instrumental interlude with cawing birds, which divides the album in two pieces.

The only lack of Esoterrorcult is the bass: not that it is absent but it is hidden somewhere deep in the mix and never goes to the forefront. But it needs to be said that a lot of extreme bands have such attitude. And as far as I remember, Karkosa has no permanent bassist – guest musician Kurt Ley played on Esoterrorcult. But since it’s a first longplay, I think Karkosa will do something with it. I almost forgot the sound here is also good: Anthony Longano, who mixed and mastered the album did a great job indeed.

I don’t want to sound unfounded but in my opinion Esoterrorcult is a real work of art. It is endlessly dark and evil but captivating. I mentioned the void in the beginning because that’s what this music is: at first you just fall into it but after a second or third listening you start to notice facets and transmissions, focusing on some significant things and in the end you can put them into one big picture like Bosch’s paintings.

Esoterrorcult will be released on February, 23 via Redefining Darkness Records.


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