Cruciamentum- Engulfed In Desolation
It has finally come.
There has not been a bigger hype train in, um, obscure old school Death Metal than the one moving England's Cruciamentum. The Convocation of Crawling Choas demo made serious waves in 2009, as the bands suffocating, Incantation-esque Death Metal fit perfectly with what was hot in Death Metal at the time. But on this years split with Vasaeleth(which I reviewed previously), one could hear a not too subtle stylistic change, and not just in the vocals: there was a greater sense of groove and several chuggier riffs that to my ears sounded like Bolt Thrower.
Engulfed In Desolation continues that sound, with four tracks of rock solid old school Death metal that evokes the masters of New York Death Metal as well as Crucimentum's fellow Brits Bolt Thrower. You know the drill then: tons of skull caving riffs, liberal use of insane blast-beats, and a bass sound that quite literally moves you. Crucimentum are some of the finest riff smiths out there right now, and just picking one brilliant riff on Engulfed in Desolation is a Herculean effort.
It is a tad unfortunate that Crucimentum feel the need to hammer those riffs into your skull long after it has already been pulverized to mush however. If Engulfed in Desolation is not without sin: these songs are seriously too long. It is not a surprise that the best song on the album, "Thrones Turned To Rust," is also by far the shortest. Cruciamentum do not make dozens of riffs: they make five to seven utterly perfect ones, then abuse your face with them. The problem is, when the songs are in excess of six minutes long, you get diminishing returns. The final track, "Unsanctified Temples," is a whopping eight minutes long, and I wish I could say that it needed to be. In truth, most of it is made up of repeated riffs in an effort to create atmosphere, when Engulfed in Desolation is at it's best when cutting the shit and ripping your arms off. This album is a nuclear bomb trying to act as a tranquilizer dart at times, and it just doesn't work.
But when Engulfed in Desolation goes for the throat, it works. Cruciamentum are a band with a lot to offer, who had a lot of success very early, and are still trying to find their sound. I am in love with the fact that the band take less from Incantation with this album, and when the riffs are working they work. All this band needs is time, experience, and a little bit of self-editing to reach song-writing Nirvana. They are pretty close as it is.