Warforged – Essence of the Land (Total Deathcore)

Friday, 10th January 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Despite being made up of only three songs and a moody acoustic instrumental, Warforged manages to generate an excitement sure to turn some heads with the release of Essence of the Land.  The Chicago-based band has released a few stand-alone tracks via Bandcamp in the past, but this marks their official debut EP.

Most aptly described as atmospheric death metal, if you are a fan of more forward-thinking bands like Fallujah, and Black Crown Initiate to a lesser extent (there are no clean vocals here), you will find plenty to enjoy.  There is a seamless fusion of more tech-friendly death metal with a majestic blackened atmosphere as well as some murkier and more melancholic elements, complete with acoustic guitars and piano/keys.  Everything is given enough room to breathe, with no jarring transitions, signaling the songwriting skills of a much more veteran band.

The songs presented all bleed into the next and tell a compelling story, which is nicely portrayed by the striking and eerie cover art.  “Diabolical Being” creeps ever so gently until it builds into some majestic blackened riffing, before jumping into more tech-death bludgeoning, featuring a ripper of a solo.  “Regurgitate” pushes things up a notch with some militant drumming and some of the heaviest riffs on the disc.  There is also a guest solo by Brody Uttley of Rivers of Nihil.  Things begin to slow down with the more progressive and atmospheric “Phantoms of the Mist” and it ends on an ethereal and melancholic riff that’s sure to stick with you long after the lush acoustics of “Tainted Heart” fade.

Warforged have their work cut out for them at this point.  Essence of the Land displays a band with the potential to make waves in their ability to blend familiar elements and merge them into their own swampy sound.  Let’s hope they capitalize on this and rush back to get a full-length out quick.

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