Æpoch – The Scryer

Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/label: Self-Released
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://aepochmetal.bandcamp.com
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/AepochMetal

Band line-up:

Brett MacIntosh -Fretless Bass/Lead Vocals
Greg Carvalho -Drums (Stolos, Shadoccult)
Marcus Arar-Guitar/Backing Vocals (Inhalants)
Ira Lehtovaara –Guitar (Raider)

Layne Richardson (Becomes Astral) –Guest solo (Solo 4) on “Shrapnel Baptized”

Tracklisting:

1. Devil Twin pt. I The Birth Of A Demon
2. Devil Twin pt. II The Death Of A Man
3. The Scryer
4. Shrapnel Baptized
5. Ozonihilation
6. A Brainwashed Civilization

Review:

Aepoch are a death metal band from Canada who made a huge splash with their 2018 debut album ‘Awaking Inception’. Their upcoming EP ‘The Scryer’ will be released on July 31st, 2020. It blends influences of thrash, melodic death metal, old school death metal and modern tech death metal together and is another adrenaline pumping effort. If you like bands such as Abysmal Dawn, Job For A Cowboy and The Black Dahlia Murder, this is the album for you. Its lyrical content consists of topics such as history, the corruption of society and the breakdown of the environment. 

Whilst the intro instrumental track is effective at creating a curious atmosphere with its contemplative solo acoustic guitar arpeggios and sometimes dark harmonies, it’s a little on the dull side. It’s repetitive and lacking in originality. An extra acoustic guitar appears later on, adding a melody that is perfectly reasonable, but really the piece should be half its length. Fortunately the death metal songs that follow are FAR better and develop with a progressive level of intelligence. Some of the riffs are a little on the cliched side but they are still crushing, especially when locked in tight with the drums. Others however are pretty damn impressive. They are varied and skilled whilst maintaining their heaviness and you even get occasional mini embellishments that add a sense of class to the sound.

Frequent changes of tempo and textures leave the listener in somewhat of a daze. He will simply never know what is coming next on the first listen. Ever. Track ‘Shrapnel Baptized’ is an epic eight and a half minuter that starts off with a flashy mini bass solo. Then come in the rest of the band, full guns blazing (resulting in more of a daze). Then when you think the bass has had its moment, it comes back in with some more creative lines. A shred guitar solo is not far away. It and the others in the release are not quite virtuoso level as they’re not performed with 100% confidence in the way Marty Friedman solos are for example, but they are good. The riffs in SB are more reliant on tremolo picked ideas that stay on notes a little longer than the previous tracks, but that’s ok as those complex changes you will grow to love are right around the corner. When it comes to development, maybe this track has a little too much going and it lacks consistency, however. 

‘Ozonihilation’ starts with a thrashy riff that is kind of simple in terms of note choices, but its slightly twisted rhythm is strangely somewhat of a highlight. I’m sure that’s exactly the kind of thing fans of this genre will want. Not everything has to be in crazy 11/8 or whatever to sound captivating and not everything has to be truly basic to be brutal. Aepoch have captured a wonderful middle ground. The rest of the track can be compared to Mastodon. A death metal Mastodon. If you are familiar with that band, you will know just how talented they are. Seeing these guys live must be somewhat of an experience as there’s so much to memorise and so many areas things could go drastically wrong. 

In conclusion, this is expertly written stuff. As explained, it’s not perfect but with some small changes it could actually be pretty much perfect. How about that? Yes, ‘perfect’ isn’t a truly massive compliment in the world of death metal because the genre is pretty basic when compared to prog metal bands such as Dream Theater, but if you’re looking for pure excitement, turn Aepoch up loud and you will be very happy. I’m not sure what they were thinking with their intro because it gives off the wrong impression and doesn’t really fit with the tone of the album (other than its dark chords that don’t feature as much as they perhaps should), but ignore that and you have five great tracks of extreme intensity. Strongly recommended!

Review by Simon Wiedemann

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