EPITAPHE - Demo MMXVII
April 18, 2018, a year ago
Epitaphe bring extreme death metal from the French Alps to our ears here on this release, which undersells itself with that name, big time: this 40-minute album feels far more full-length than mere demo. And, clearly, Epitaphe are serious: there are only three songs on Demo MMXVII. I mentioned “extreme death metal” earlier, and that's because there's just no other way to sum it all up in three words: 10-minute opener “The Downward Stream” mines sludgey DM for its heaviness and atmosphere; it's a fantastic way to get things started here, noisy and crashing in all the right ways. 11-minute “Embers” is up next, and Epitaphe create even more atmosphere with it, the band starting to form a whole new pocket of sounds here: there's the obvious Incantation influence, but there's also more open space, less oppression, a bit more adventure being taken.
And it is incredible how fast those 11 minutes go past, the band absolutely creating something engaging and worth the journey. Then it's on to the closer, the 18-minute (!) “Smouldering Darkness.” Talk about death metal ebbs and flows, this song has it all, with the guitar work leading the way through nods to DM past and the swirling miasma of DM future, both grinding and slug-paced. And, again: it doesn't drag for a second, keeping the listener interested the whole time. There's no way—no way—this band won't be on a label like Dark Descent or Relapse for their next album.