Oh man! Have the last few years been good to me. The death metal resurgence is in full swing and the giant goat headed monstrosity of modern music is spewing out new music from every orifice onto a willing and welcoming audience. Within the revival old school death metal has exploded with groups like Gatecreeper, Tomb Mold, Spectral Voice and Frozen Soul getting lots of coverage across the metal universe. So chin up folks, staple your eyes open, spread your arms wide…and accept a new offering from the monstrosity in the form of the debut EP from Living Gate titled Deathlust, ready to crush all around it and cloak the world in its formidable darkness on the 12th June.
Featuring members from esteemed groups such as Yob, Oathbreaker, Amenra and Wiegedood there is some serious pedigree associated to this record. I’m a fan of all the member’s respective groups. Couple that with this being released via the mighty Relapse Records, well you’ve got a tubby bloke from the Cotswolds very excited and eager to get his grubby mitts it. First things first, the artwork….Shoggoth Kinetics take a bow, you killed it. It’s got that perfect death metal record look, a pile of mutated corpses and alienesque masses, all in black and white with a big red logo. Perfect!
The record kicks of quicker and harder than a Zinedine Zidane head-butt to the chest with The Delusion Of Consciousness, starting with this slamming riff that’s just eviscerating. The drums are raw, the bass tone is filthy, and I can hear it in the mix which is a bonus. The slamming riff is accompanied by bellowing growls, before Living Gate up the ante with the introduction of some blasts alongside some knuckle dragging riffs, and those vocals change to this wretched howl that is just heinous.
The opening track screams influence from Suffocation, Demilich and Death but this is no tribute band. It’s got its own spin on the classic sound taking it in a more brutal direction, which just kills. It’s straight up destruction. It appears to finish abruptly before surprising me with this thirty second chunk of harmonious guitar licks reminiscent of Chuck Schuldiner himself.
The next track Roped is notably slower in tempo but still just as heavy. It builds into this mid paced blast fest featuring loads of guttural vocals, china work and a few pick scrapes thrown in for good measure. Living Gate then tear you apart with these scathing dual vocals, a mixture of the gutturals bouncing off anguished screams. It’s punishing but sounds great. The record continues with riff after riff of crushing death metal madness with title track Deathlust and the swarming destruction of Heaven Ablaze which keeps up the pummelling pace. Aside from the slight change of pace in Roped, this record does not let up in its brutality.
Final track, named after the band, Living Gate is the pick of the bunch, with melodic guitar lines sat in between the usual solid crushing riffage and destructive drums. It’s a nice change of sound compared to the first four tracks. It’s the one that drew me in the most as it chops and changes while still keeping the sound built earlier within the record.
It’s where Living Gate shows the sounds the individual members bought to the fold, which was one of the things I was most excited about with this EP. The track winds down with a slowed down solo that really stands out, before all the musicians are completely drowned out by a dissonant and overbearing noise. It then breaks away, leaving us with some light guitar work that is creepy and a fine way to finish the EP.
To sum up Deathlust is a great EP. I love how aggressive the sound is and how there is no fucking about. Its five tracks of madness that had me hooked from start to finish. Highlights were the dual vocals that just complement each other really well and the drum work is ace.
The only criticism I have is the production is a little light, with all of that destruction and heaviness I was hoping for a thicker sound. It doesn’t detract from the performance or the quality of the EP overall. I think this is going to get a lot of people talking and I look forward to a full length from this project.
Scribed by: Matt Alexander