Æpoch – Awakening Inception (Self-Released)

Sunday, 8th April 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

Æpoch initially impressed with their first EP at the end of 2015 with Æpochalypse. A blend of brutal, progressive, melodic, and technical flavors, it hit many different points in a way that took the familiar death metal scope and allowed it to stay exciting and fresh. So what do they do for their first full-length effort? Up the ante in every way of course!

Any aspect that was found to be a strong suit from Æpochalypse has been bettered on Awakening Inception. The first point is the very strong production, which gives the album a more brutal and intense feeling – this isn’t going to be some sterile and cold tech death that you hear but music that goes straight for the throat. Not that it’s simplistic though, as the technical and progressive aspects have become more pronounced and intricate, yet never at a loss for a melodic touch (see “Tabula Rosa”). Plenty of soaring leads cross paths with more brutal and complex riffs, making it all quite digestible from the initial listen (though you’ll get more out of it with each listen with some solid headphones). Particularly enjoyable on this end is Brett MacIntosh’s fretless basswork, which is sure to draw your attention with every track. Despite all the different flourishes that add variety to each song, the band is okay with busting out some old school brutality as well – whether it’s a headbanging riff or menacing vocal (check the title track), it provides yet more balance to keep it all moving for the entire 50-minute runtime. Lastly, there’s quite a few prominent guests to be found as an added bonus, with members from Hideous Divinity, Wormhole, Tethys, and Bleak Flesh all lending a throat or instrument.

Death metal fans should have no qualms about checking out Æpoch with an impressive release such as this. They’ve stepped up their game considerably and seem quite hungry to make a name for themselves, which should not be a problem based on the quality of Awakening Inception.

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