Long-time followers of metal’s best underground label, Dark Descent Records, have had quite a wait for the second record from Finland’s Gorephilia. After 5 years, the band is about to release their sophomore release, entitled “Severed Monolith”. The band’s music is new to me, but it’s easy to see why people would be anxious for a release from this group. “Severed Monolith” successfully captures many elements of what made the best old-school death metal bands great. Morbid Angel in particular seems to be the biggest influence, as this album has twisted, sadistic riffing that utilizes uncommon intervals and harmonies, in addition to schizophrenic soloing. There are plenty of rolling double bass grooves, as well as a sufficient amount of chaotic blasting. Nobody can truly emulate Pete Sandoval, but Gorephilia’s drummer does an admirable job.
“Severed Monolith” does have a tendency to blend together. Though the songs themselves provide plenty of variety, few tracks rise above the others to make any meaningful impact, as this record is best enjoyed as a whole. Perhaps the lone exception to this is the epic that almost closes the record, “Crushed Under The Weight of God”. This song is as massive as its title implies, and though its length of nearly 10 minutes exceeds almost anything by Morbid Angel, this track shows Gorephilia with their best worship of the Floridian legends.
The remainder of the album is similar in style, but not quite as memorable. Nevertheless, the band also displays other influences, including doomier sections, as well as more dissonant, Immolation-esque moments. The band isn’t afraid to have lengthier instrumental sections, or even just use haunting screams as background noise (see the first minute and a half of “Black Horns” for a great example). Of course, their vocalist also delivers the necessary brutality to fit in with the rest of the music. His voice is a low rumble that rarely delves into anything too adventurous, but it gets the job done.
With “Severed Monolith”, Gorephilia have created an excellent album that is incredibly faithful to death metal’s classic records. Sure, we’ve all heard music like this 1,000 times before, but it doesn’t make it any less effective. There’s really nothing to fault the band for, as this record doesn’t overstay its welcome, and doesn’t bother with failed experimentation. As a result, “Severed Monolith” is an early contender for being one of the strongest death metal records of the year!
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"Crushed Under The Weight of God
4.25/5 or 85%.
Written by Scott