Excrecor – Hypnotic Affliction (Self-Released)

Sunday, 19th January 2014
Rating: 8/10

Excrecor hails from New Hampshire, though you’d be more apt to say they sound European if you didn’t know any better.  Hypnotic Affliction is Excrecor’s debut full-length, despite the fact that the band has been in existence since 2000.  The album has been teased since their 2010 EP Synchronicity, but you know what they say, patience is a virtue.

Excrecor essentially take the tried-and-true formula of early Gothenburg and add some atmosphere and occasional blackened riffs to call it their own.  Hardly original, but sometimes that’s not the point, especially when the riffs and melodies on display are just so damn catchy.  Whether it’s the atmospheric chorus of “Awaken,” the bouncy melodies of “Fortune Fall,” or the acoustic introduction to the sweeping epic sound of the Moonshield-esque “Starlit (Dust Echoes)”, the guitar work is often enough to make the Amott brothers or Jesper Stromblad himself do some blushing.  Thankfully, the band keeps things on the heavy end of the spectrum, as bone-crushers such as “Locked Inside Madness” almost feel more Centinex than they do In Flames, giving a nice balance of brutality and melody.

For a self-released effort, the sound quality is nothing short of phenomenal.  It might be partly due to the fact that they got one of the champions of Gothenburg, Fredrik Nordstrom, to master this at Studio Fredman (why bands aren’t still lining up to get into this place I do not know).  Hypnotic Affliction does sound as if it could rival any of the other remaining players left in the scene.  If there’s one small fault I can find here, it’s that the mellow, serene instrumental closer, “The Callus’s Thoughts” is a wee bit too long (it runs close to seven minutes).

For an album theoretically 14 years in the making, it sounds every bit as mature and majestic as it should.  Solid melodic death metal with plenty of atmosphere, hopefully we won’t wait nearly as long for its follow-up!

Excrecor official site