Saturday, 17 January 2015

Album Review: Existential Animals - Surrealith

Existential Animals - Surrealith
Date of Release: October 2014
Record Label: None
Genre: Technical Death Metal

Reviewed by: Geoff McGraw
7 of 10 horns

Track listings: 1. Accretion 2.Vitreous Vale 3.Oneironaut 4. The Zanclean Deluge 5. Stalked Vestige

Can death metal be "progressive"? Existential Animals is here to answer that question with an overwhelming YES. This duo hails from the pit of all black despair..."Ohio".... and claims the genre of technical death metal. That genre tag always worries me, before I even crack the shrink wrap on a disc the word "technical" always puts me in the mind of tremelo picking ascending and and then reversed descending licks repeated over and over at high speed until I am ready to shoot myself in the head....with a cannon. These animals are a breed apart and have about as much to do with the aformentioned repetative swill as a fighter jet has to do with a paper airplane.

Surrealith is mostly an instrumental album with very little in the way of vocals, and I mean there's only one track with vocals, and I guess that's where they manage to squeeze out the death metal title. Aside from that I would drop this 5 song ep firmly into progressive metal, and it doesn't get much more progressive than this. Casual listeners are going to find this ep difficult to listen to, not because it isn't good, because it is heavily cerebral. This cd is one you must actively listen to in order to truly appreciate, it's not a background music kind of thing, it deserves to be a headphone listening experience.

Most of my reviews are rife with metaphor and hyperbole, putting sounds into words so that I can hopefully instill you the reader with what to expect. However in this case I seem to be having some issues doing just that. I can only say that musicians with this much talent deserve to find a place other than "Ohio". Intense and diverse, afficiandos of highly progressive music will find a highly interesting and entertaining listen, do yourself a favor and bring these Existential Animals in from the experiential cold.

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