Ectovoid- Fractured In The Timeless Abyss
Alabama Death Metal band Ectovoid are almost laughably lock-step with the rest of the current Death Metal scene and trends: old-school nostalgia worship, doing what's been done before without bring much of anything new to the table in terms of new ideas of unique concepts. It's little more then the sum of it's influences: Immolation(especially), Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, Grave, etc. are all present and accounted for, and most of Fractured In The Timeless Abyss's listening time is spent tying all the influences to the different sections, checking off the appearance of each legend. It's even ripe with Lovecraftian-imagery for fuck's sake, which at this point almost feels like a requirement more then a choice of lyrical concepts.
And ya know what? It's still pretty good.
For some readers of this blog, this is a pretty crazy statement coming from this reviewer, who probably hasn't made a ton of friends amongst the tried-and-true Old School 'Heads. And I went into Fractured In The Timeless Abyss wanting to hate it. It was an album which represents all of my current issues with the current Death Metal scene in spades. When I say not one new idea, I mean it: Fractured In The Timeless Abyss is in fact locked in a space-time disturbance, in which it is perpetually 1992(a horrifying thought.) After a dozen spins I could have developed a spreadsheet of "gently borrowed" riffs, ideas and compositions from a dozen different classic Death Metal acts, a good portion of those which I dislike greatly. This was an album I seemed destined to hate, one to fill me with righteous fury and reaffirm my disillusionment with the current "old-school is the only school" mythology dominating the genre.
So what the fuck? What's my angle? It comes down to a single word: craftsmanship. Fractured In The Timeless Abyss is like a finely made table: unspectacular and highly unoriginal, but solid and sturdy. The guys in Ectovoid are just rock solid musicians, and the band is tighter then a scene-queen's pre-teen jeans. Vocalist Chuck Bryant growls not only with unholy guttural intensity, but also with impressive clarity and pronunciation. In fact, not since Sonne Adam's Transformation has there been a more distinguishable vocal performance. Sure, he wastes it on time a dozen lyrics about "space horrors" and "coffins," but it's still a damn fine effort. And while Fractured In The Timeless Abyss is miles from what most would consider "Tech-Death," there are some damn complex riffs and leads through-out the album. Through sheer force of musicianship, production(clear but thick) and generally excellent performances, Fractured In The Timeless Abyss made a solid impression on me. It also features one of the years best songs, "Chewing Through the Membrane of Time and Space," a tight and tidy slice of Immolation-meets-Bolt Thrower not to be missed.
Fractured In The Timeless Abyss is truly little more then highly digestible, low-brow Death Metal; a rather convincing imitation of true nihilism and inhumanity, wrapped in a gorgeous cover and served ready-made for easy consumption. It's not a meal I normally partake of, but while the ingredients are little more then clever re-productions of reality, the men who made the meal are damn fine chefs. It might be the same ol' same ol' I've had a thousand times, but this one time it wasn't too bad at all.