Review: Telluric Effluvium ‘Voyage Of Sentient Decay’

Let’s just understand what Telluric Effluvium means roughly. ‘Telluric’, broadly means related to Earth/the Earth’s crust. And ‘effluvium’ are the invisible emanations and/or fumes created by decaying materials. That involved quite a lot of thinking, which is appropriate because this album also requires quite a lot of thinking. This is thirty-eight minutes of deep reflection on death and decay expressed through brutish riffs.

Telluric Effluvium 'Voyage Of Sentient Decay'

This is the second release by mysterious Denver quartet Telluric Effluvium. Their first album Dissolution Of The Threefold Self, a three track nihilistic exploration of the self, came out in 2020.

On this latest release the band have opted for five tracks, thematically covering a brutal cycle of misanthropic self-destruction (see Liberation Through Cyclical Autophagia or Expository Peeling).

For all the horror of this, Voyage Of Sentient Decay is a cavernously beautiful album at times, managing to be a monolithic heavy blend of old school death metal and reverb-saturated funeral doom. The guitar leads are a standout feature, always grief-laden and despondent. Horrid Visions Of The Corrupting Flesh becomes nearly meditative towards the end, but we should have seen that coming; the cover of this album is a cross-legged body in a literal state of sentient decomposition.

The vocal style is certainly typical of the genre. It’s meaty and as heavy as any of the other instruments. What is worth highlighting though is the recording quality and the prominence of the vocals in the mix. You feel the fleshy animalistic vocals as much as listen to them.

a monolithic heavy blend of old school death metal and reverb-saturated funeral doom…

The second track Expository Peeling brings the noise, with dissonant guitar melodies tremolo picked over the deep and pitiless heaviness created by the rhythm guitar, bass, and drums. Call it the Telluric Effluvium treatment, but this is where the band sits most comfortably and largely where they stay on Voyage Of Sentient Decay. Yet they do finally give in to glorious triplets and blast beats in Asphyxiation Plague and again on Liberation Through Cyclical Autophagia, injecting some movement into an otherwise crushing sound.

You do get some space though. Even the moments where the bass is allowed to play by itself feel like a release from the desolation. However, it does seem like the band recognise this and offer some contrasting moments. Dissonant Tears, the two-minute interlude before the final assault of Liberation Through Cyclical Autophagia, brings in light synth sounds akin to funeral doom giants The Shape of Despair.

Overall, this is such a well composed album. It is an arc. A voyage, (exactly as the title says), through regret and despair. My main complaint is that there is not more of it.

Telluric Effluvium’s Voyage Of Sentient Decay is out on Transylvanian Recordings

Label: Transylvanian Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: James Bullock