Ævangelist – Writhes in the Murk (Debemur Morti Productions)

Tuesday, 16th September 2014
Rating: 6.5/10

Ævangelist’s sophomore effort, Omen Ex Simulacra, found it’s way into my personal top 10 albums of 2013. As inhospitable as they come, as far as metal albums go, it was the atmosphere of Omen that left such a lasting impression. Abrasive and eerie, it was the musical equivalent of a trip through Hell. Nightmarish sounds plagued your every step, while pummeling riffs and menacing growls hammered their way into your skull. Sadly, something has been lost in translation with their newest release, Writhes in the Murk.

In comparison, Writhes in the Murk seems less horrific and less intimidating. The band’s penchant for disorientation is still here, with industrial-laden effects still littering the landscape, but it seems less dangerous. That hellish vibe that made Omen such an intriguing record is gone for the most part, though it sneaks in every once and a while. Perhaps that is what makes Writhes such a bitter pill to swallow. The knack for knowing just when to play a massive riff remains, and moments of “Harken to the Flesh” and “Praeternigma” are just as convincing as before, yet they are countered by the relatively more relaxed and mostly tension-free offerings of “Disquiet” and the title track. The comparisons to Portal and Mitochondrion still stick as well, with their electronic/industrial influence still being the saving grace to keep them firmly in their own dimension.

Of course, it’s silly to demand a band to continue to follow the straight and narrow and not evolve. With such a unique position as Ævangelist though, abandoning such a horrific atmosphere in favor of a more industrial approach is disappointing. Sure, they’ve furthered their sound (there’s even a saxophone present on the album), but something has been lost in translation.

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