Willowtip Records - 2010
I must admit that this album took a little time to work its way under my skin. As a massive fan of DS's previous outings; Prelude to the Tragedy and Psalms of the Moribund, I was all set to love Chapters on its first spin. The fact that I didn't is nothing to do with it being a bad album and far more to do with the production itself which has pushed the guitars back in favour of a huge low end that compliments a more slam-oriented style than previously seen. This leads to some riffs in the faster, more chaotic sections flying by with no real definition or clarity, which is a shame as the sheer musical ability on display is phenomenal.
DF's combination of influences is superbly demonstrated at the best of times, yet none more so than on Engulfed In Excruciation which manages to mix slams, grooves and technical mastery in a perfect fashion that I've rarely come across. Carnal Deliverance's mid-riff tempo changes and fast choppy sections keep slams that might otherwise feel a little repetitive constantly interesting, while the jazzy bass sections in Consumed by Repugnance and its occasional flourishes on tracks like Blissfully Exsanguinated serve to highlight the brutality as well as breaking up the assault – albeit briefly – just for it to pick up pace and have another go with re-awakened vigour.
Blissfully Exsanguinated also demonstrates how the intelligent use of samples can actually exacerbate the intensity and atmosphere as opposed to being tacked on at the beginning or the end of tracks with no real purpose.
This album has worked its way under by skin. It's a fucking great album that only time will tell whether it'll live up to the record company's promise of being the most brutal album of the year. It's truly dark atmosphere permeates the music from its grooves to its more technical moments and continues throughout the indecipherable lyrics which, while are pretty much what you'd expect theme-wise, come across with a realism that doesn't seem contrived.
It remains however that this album lacks the clarity of production demonstrated on their previous albums. The fact that the guitars are, on occasion, reduced to a buzzing background noise compared to the prevalence of bass and drums that dominate the mix means that it is impossible to truly appreciate the songs in their totality. With third albums being the notorious clincher for many bands – especially for one that's altered its line-up quite so drastically as this – risking all on a mix that fails to demonstrate the full nature of the compositions is just unnecessary.