Irkallian Oracle – Grave Ekstasis (2013)

Irkallian Oracle - Grave Ekstasis

 

There is a recent resurgence in black/death metal that is aimed at producing sounds that reflect the sheer unknown, abstract horrors that these bands tackle lyrically; a resurgence that Irkallian Oracle have co-opted with such high calibre on this debut album (originally released March 2013 as a limited tape release and saw a vinyl rerelease February 2014).

As much as it shouldn’t take away from the music, it is definitely worth mentioning that there is basically no information about the band really exists to the point where the band play live shows cloaked in black robes, and the metal archives page for this band does not list members or pseudonyms for the members.

Musically this album is oppressive, damn bloody oppressive; the guitars play suffocating black tinged death metal riffs with a heavy focus on dissonance and atonality which adds an aura of general uncomfortable feeling to the album on top of the already mentioned oppressive atmosphere. The vocals tend towards deep but somewhat articulated rumbles that further enhance the weight of the oppressive atmosphere, while the drumming provide a skeletal structure for the rest of the album to sit on, and acts as an extra chaotic driver on the album. The songs on Grave Ekstasis often flirt between slow, mid and fast paced songs, providing much of the variation that the songs have, but still manage to retain the choking, suffocating atmosphere thanks to the thick guitar tones used.

As mentioned above, the songs tend to have pace shifts peppered throughout, providing the only real variation that this album contains, since a staple part of this sort of thick, unworldly black/death is a reliance on atmosphere over traditional memorable song writing (you’re going to be challenged to hear a song off this album and instantly be able to differentiate it enough from the rest). However this is far from being a negative point of the album due to Irkallian Oracle’s ability to really hammer out that oppressive weight throughout the 5 songs here. 4 of the tracks on this album sit between 6 and 13 minutes long (with an oddly short 2 and a half minute track), which again gives no negative to the album due to the song writing, although caution is to be given for playing this as background music since the songs will blend pretty quickly (that lack of traditional memorable song writing at work).

All in all though Irkallian Oracle have created a unworldly beast of a debut, which is a highly recommended listen for anyone who requires a crushing slab of black/death that focuses more on atmosphere than bands like Behemoth.

 

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