Spain, Willowtip Records, Brutal Death Metal
My mind has just been raped. I know I should file a report or seek some kind of compensation but I – I’m not able. In addition, my legs have stopped working, so even if I wanted to get up and do something, I can’t. I’m not sure exactly what just happened but I can say this for damn sure; ‘Nourishing The Spoil’? Hit the fuckin’ bricks. ‘Exodromos’ just made you and every other album this year its bitch. Enjoy not being first on my Top 10 list Guttural Secrete.
Yeah, that’s right, the album I went completely gaga over barely a month ago has already been dethroned. Surely this violates some fundamental rule of physics given how ecstatic I was (and still am mind you) about ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ but then I remember exactly who I’m dealing with; the masters of time, space and brutality themselves, Wormed. If someone told me I’d find not one but two death metal magnum opuses would be released within a month of each other any other year than this one, albums that completely annihilate my taste in music only to replace it with something better, I’d mock that person for being so stupid & childish. Hell, how is that supposed to reflect on me as a reviewer? An album comes out that challenges my all time favorite brutal death metal albums more viciously than ever and then one paltry month later it’s marginalized by something even greater? There’s some cosmic fuckery going on here…
I figured after the genre redefining assault of ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ I had heard the best this year had to offer. How could it not be? It’s one of the best brutal death metal albums I’ve ever heard already. Everything I praised about it is still true. (For the most part) Albums like that don’t just get overtaken in less than 30 days. Unless of course we’re talking about an album that’s more than a death metal masterpiece. An album so magnificent in practically every way it goes beyond competing with any peers because it has none by virtue of being so groundbreakingly original. The kind of album that takes brutal death metal, quantum physics, an apocalyptic sci-fi tale worthy of novelization and free-jazz then proceeds to create something even greater than the sum of its parts. Virtuosity of that magnitude is practically unheard of, let alone released shortly after a genre triumph like Guttural Secrete’s latest. I certainly would never have believed it…until ‘Exodromos’ that is.
It’s pretty ridiculous of me to put out not one but two slobbering praisefests out in the span of 30 days but I’m only human. I had absolutely no way of knowing this would happen. I’ve never planned for something like…well, this album. Sure, I’ve been eagerly awaiting a new Wormed album for as long as I’ve loved ‘PlanisphÆrium’ but ‘Exodromos’ goes well beyond a simple successor to ‘PlanisphÆrium’, which would have been more than enough for me and practically every other Wormed fan out there. In fact, I don’t know if I’ll be able to enjoy ‘PlanisphÆrium’ nearly as much as I have after ‘Exodromos’. That’s my biggest complaint about ‘Exodromos’; it’s so awe-inspiring, it renders all of Wormed’s other material invalid. That was bound to happen with a musical experiment this bold though. ‘PlanisphÆrium’ could never hope to be up to snuff after this.
First things first, Phlegeton’s vocals…I’ve long considered Phlegeton second only to Matti Way in the history of guttural vocals. The noises that emanate from his throat have no business coming out of a human being. While his work on ‘Exodromos’ isn’t his all time deepest, it is BY FAR his most unsettling, varied and utterly mindblowing to date. I’m sure the vast majority of readers are familiar with the space jockey from Ridley Scott’s Alien. If a space jockey (not an ‘engineer’ from that shitfest Prometheus) ever spoke, disintegrating any beings foolish enough to listen, I can only imagine it’s primordial roars sounding like the vocals on this album. These aren’t just mind erasing, bowel vacating gutturals, they’re the language of a creature far beyond pitiful human comprehension. Lesser mortals will explode and even the heartier among us will feel fear as we never have before. Beyond that, there are atmospheric tracks/sections on ‘Exodromos’ narrated better than any similar track experiments in the death metal genre since Timeghoul. One thing is for damn sure; no gutturals you’ve ever heard can prepare you for what you’ll experience here.
As if that wasn’t enough, the guitar riffs on this album go beyond simple death metal supremacy. In the hands of any lesser guitar players, these tracks would be disjointed messes of wasted ideas and potential. Miguel and J. Oliver will never be those inferior specimens. Hell, they’ve written songs so amazing even the best brutal death metal guitarists alive today couldn’t recreate their genius accurately. Unfathomable grooves and maddeningly fast tremolo riffs scorch like the sun, etching themselves into your mind and never letting go. The flow and song progressions featured on ‘Exodromos’ are some of the all time best in the history of the guitar. I really don’t care how that sounds at this point because if there’s one consistent thought in my head about ‘Exodromos’.
‘This is some of the best goddamn music ever made. Period, full stop, bar none. Pack your shit up, go home and blast this fuckin’ thing.’
I don’t know how Miguel and J. Oliver managed to pull this off but am I ever glad they did. Honestly, after listening to even a snippet of ‘Exodromos’, I can’t appreciate other guitarists nearly as much. Short of Fredrik Thordendal, I think these two just became my go-to electric guitar maestros. Absolutely stunning from beginning to end.
This album’s dominance doesn’t end there though. Riky Mena’s drumming sees to that. Imagine for a moment if Buddy Rich and Dave Culross of Suffocation were, by the machinations of the multiverse, combined into one Spanish drummer. That’s the most adequate description of Riky’s drumming I could ever hope to give. There are enough blast beats and complex fills to satiate the appetite of every death metal fiend the world over but his performance truly astounds when seemingly out of the blue, a free-jazz flavored drum pattern will melt what little mind this album didn’t already disintegrate. Thanks to the aforementioned pattern in ‘Tautochrone’, I can’t even finish this paragkjfhscjkkdbhgkgzxkjbcd vksjudgcfi u jklnco n/……..
See? Brain melt. You’ve been warned. Ties in with what I’ve been hinting at throughout this review; 98% of other death metal albums won’t be listenable after you hear this. Forget a ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker, every copy of ‘Exodromos’ should come with a warning that says,
‘You may be tempted to junk the rest of your CDs after listening to this one. Proceed with caution or lose entire music collection. ‘
No discussion of ‘Exodromos’ would be complete without the album’s concept. As quoted from the band’s official website,
“Exodromos is a prequel of Planisphaerium; the story tells about futuristic science concepts and chaotic visions of the last human left in cosmos, Krighsu. These are particularly in relation to the awakening of the ‘Chrym’ once the last humans of the year 8K, called the Terrax, dissapeared, and the known universe was absorbed by a quantum wormhole in a inverted multi-vectorial reionization. Krighsu, will travel through xenoverses to found a new world with the human seed. The paradox: Krighsu is not the habitual human you all know.”
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
That paragraph alone puts the vast majority of current science fiction literature to shame. It’s like Andrei Tarkovsky’s ‘Solyaris’ crashing into ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ rewritten by some genetic hybrid of Stephen Hawking and Philip K. Dick. The best part of it all is Phlegeton thought of the entire concept. Face the harsh, uncompromising truth that nothing you do in your life will ever be as amazing as what Phlegeton’s managed to accomplish here; some of the greatest gutturals in metal history combined with a genius level combination of quantum physics and apocalyptic science fiction. This is the kind of creativity that takes someone’s whole professional career to remotely achieve normally, if they don’t go full Howard Hughes and become a reclusive nutjob that pisses into mason jars…and then there’s Phlegeton, a frontman with an active tour schedule for several bands that can STILL realize something this ambitious to its fullest extent. Jari Mäenpää could take 30 years for the next Wintersun farce and still never reach the level of ‘Exodromos’ conceptual magnificence. Combine that and the music with one of the most top notch production jobs I could have ever asked for and ‘Exodromos’ is more than enough to shatter my (and your) scope of brilliant music.
When all is said and done, this isn’t just an album; it’s a full fledged journey. Across 10 tracks and 33 minutes, I felt like *I* was Krighsu. Every hope, struggle, doubt and moment of insurmountable insanity he faced was my own…by the time I first finished ‘Exodromos’, I don’t think I’ve ever hit the replay button on my CD player so quickly. This isn’t just Album Of The Year, it’s Album Of The Goddamn DECADE. Maybe more so than that. I can now safely say that no other album in 2013 can touch ‘Exodromos’ or hope to match it and I’ve got a lot of albums I’m still looking forward to. It even manages to go beyond a death metal triumph as important/groundbreaking/original as ‘Pierced From Within’, ‘Obscura’ and ‘Elvenefris’; this a musical work for the ages. A true combination of genius, virtuosity and timelessness. If you don’t own this album by the time 2013 is over (at the very latest you lazy fuck) you’d not only be doing yourself a personal disservice but also insulting the band that made this magnum opus possible. That’s a paddlin’.
I remember when I first heard ‘PlanisphÆrium’ the first thing I said was ‘These guys are on their way to being the most important brutal death metal band today’. Now that ‘Exodromos’ is here, that statement seems so quaint it’s practically insulting. This is a ‘Buy Or Die’ release, without a goddamn doubt. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to try and seek some kind of help for my mind rape, paralysis and all around pai-asdfhakjsyflia hsdcbkhasdbgkiajlsknhcdbxkzdyhalksnmldfnal,xcj@!
Sorry, the vocals on ‘Xenoverse Discharger’ just kicked in…
I don’t think the neurologist I’ll have to see is going to be very happy about this.
Also, because I’m such a swell guy, here’s the recently released music video for ‘Tautochrone’, which should act as even more of an incentive to buy this work of art.