Just when I thought that their debut album, The Chills was about as instant a classic as we were gonna get, Horrendous has outdone themselves and then some. Ecdysis is not only defined as the process of shedding one’s skin (if you’re an invertebrate, that is), it also is the perfect title for an album that sees this young band start shedding their immaturity and dependencies on previous artists.
This ten track album is the complete opposite of a sophomore slump and should be considered part of death metal’s pantheon of great releases. The band’s maturity shows throughout the songwriting, musicianship and production. Hell, it’s been one of those albums that I’ve spun over and over, finding new things to love each and every time. From the pseudo-cock rock guitar opening of the first song to heavy doom leanings or some of the best guitar work these ears have heard in a long while, Horrendous have a (near) perfect album on their hands.
Fans of the band’s previous material should have no fear as there is still plenty of Entombed-isms and Dismember within the churning maelstrom that is Ecdysis. The key here is that the group has found their voice and, instead of using those influences as a crutch, have built upon them like nothing out in recent years. The album opener starts out relatively straightforward enough, but quickly builds to some of the best material the band has written, complete with seven minutes of broiling bass lines, dynamic drumming and inventive, fluid riffage. It’s also got, in “Fuck all the angels,” one of the best lyric lines on the album. And while each song is memorable in its own right, they all flow together in a continuous theme and overall sound.
“Weeping Relic” is a driving beast of a song with plenty of Entombed-infused buzzing guitars and swirling mayhem. “Heaven’s Deceit” pile drives its way through your aural canals with martial rhythms and memorable guitars it’s melodic and beefy throughout. “Nepenthe” eventually explodes from the speakers after short instrumental, “The Vermillion.” It’s a song with infectious groove and soaring leads. There’s more of that traditional metal to be found in the gallop of second instrumental “When The Walls Fell,” but the band manage to make it fit in like it’s always been there and we would have missed it had it not been.
Ecdysis is an outstanding album. It’s one that you may not fully grasp at first, but given a couple of listens, the rumbling bass, impressive songwriting, addictive riffs and delivery will win you over. Why it’s taken me this long to finally get to the review…. I just don’t know, but damn man, I can’t stop playing this album.