Sabbatory are an interesting new death metal band from the USA, having recently released their debut album Endless Asphyxiating Gloom. While there is a clear influence from early Death, Repulsion, Celtic Frost and, as is obvious from the album title, Asphyx, the band aren’t just a carbon copy of their heroes, (indeed, the wide range of influences means that they’d never be aping a certain sound) but at the same time they don’t do anything much that’s new. While not revolutionary, what Sabbatory do deliver is a sick, crunching album of caustic riff heavy death metal.
The band waste no time, and D-beat drums, an incisive guitar tone and low, sick growls greet you immediately into the first track Being, Thy Eternal Perplexor – the band set out to crush. With mid paced chuggy riffs, the band craft a thick atmosphere, aided by a chunky, thumping bass sound. Kier Keating’s vocal style is both sick and powerful, coming halfway in between Chris Reifert’s vomitous spewings and Tom G Warrior’s violent yells, while those lead guitars come straight out of the Repulsion school of viscerality. There’s a great mix of riffs, from the grinding groove at points on Hypnotic Regression to slower suffocating crushers, to all out speedy assaults straight out of Death’s unholy grave – indeed a great deal of praise needs to be given to their guitarists for the riffage here. With great song writing the riffs are memorable and headbang inducing, and the production is both sickly heavy and crystal clear all at once. It’s a fantastic album of great songs, and had this came out fifteen years previously, there’s no doubt that it would be heralded as a classic, but in 2014 the only thing they have lacking is that bit of originality to set them aside from other old school revival acts. But with a caustic, crushing sound and great songs from start to finish, that can be the only complaint here, and there’s more than enough moments to get the headbanger in you going.
While they don’t do anything particularly new, the bands excellent chunky riffage, great crafting of atmosphere, and very good songs are bound to please old school death metal aficionados, if they can find it in the vast sea of old school death metal revivalism, until the next Asphyx release rolls around at least! Corrosive Decay and Infantasy are perhaps the best tracks, but short and sweet at 32 minutes it’s all killer, no filler! All in all it’s a caustic crusher of old school sickness.
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