Label: Blood Harvest
The old school death metal revival is really in rude health, and I think it’s safe to declare it one of – if not the – biggest things happening in the metal underground in recent times. Alongside a considerable number of bands who owe considerable debts to Incantation, more and more bands are releasing records which celebrate the g(l)ory days of Autopsy. The latest EP from Transcendence, Hour of the Summoning, does just that. Grim, grisly, and packed full of flesh-tearing riffs, this EP delights in the old-school death metal filth it conjures, and what it may lack in originality, it more than makes up for with atmosphere, energy, and the sheer joy of hearing dirty death metal riffs played with such obvious passion.
With death metal such as this, the production is absolutely vital; and I’m glad to say that Hour of the Summoning absolutely nails this, with the guitars coming across as drenched in dirt, whilst also having just the right level of clarity for the details to come through. There are some superb leads and solos in amongst the riffs, which add interesting and evocative melodic counter-points to the raw power of said riffs. This is all topped off with deep, vomitous vocals, spewed up from the depths of hell.
Whilst Hour of the Summoning may clearly be indebted to Autopsy and the like, Transcendence don’t come across as a band in thrall to their influences. Rather, this is the sound of a band who are choosing to create old school death metal, rather than doing so because they are unable to do anything other than emulate their favourite bands. There is enough subtle, slight invention in the leads and song structures to demonstrate that Transcendence have ideas of their own, with the mid-tempo thrash metal tinged section (I hesitate to describe it as a breakdown) towards the end of ‘Mutilating Accursed Souls’ being a prime example. It may not re-write the OSDM rule-book, but it deviates from it enough to stay interesting, and there’s no denying the energy the EP puts across is exciting.
It would be interesting to see whether Transcendence can keep up the quality over the course of a full-length, but certainly over the course of an EP, their take on old school death metal comes across as sincere, exciting, and possessed of the dark, dirty energy you’d want from this style of music. It may not be pretty, or especially original, but there’s no denying that Hour of the Summoning is a lot of fun.
Hour of the Summoning is available digitally and on cassette via Bandcamp.