Band: Begrime Exemious
Album: The Enslavement Conquest
Label: Dark Descent
Canadian death metallers Begrime Exemious finally, after four years of EPs (and a split) return with their third studio album, The Enslavement Conquest in March. There have been some changes from the last LP – this time, founding member Derek Orthner is on lead vocals as well as manning one of their two guitar positions for the first time on LP (though he’s done the same on non-album material before now), bassist Alastair Ritoul has returned, and guitarist F. Thibaudeau is for the first time playing on a Begrime LP – and they sound all the better for it.Taking a page from the DIY scene, Begrime has, per their norm, entirely self-recorded the new album, with Norland doing the recording, Orthner doing the mixing, and Dan Lowndes from Cruciamentum doing the mastering. The extremely proficiency with which they did so is the first thing that I noticed listening to my early promotional copy; the drum production, one of the hardest parts of mixing extreme metal well, is absolutely on point here and immediately stands out both for the variety of beats within a song, the sound-carrying fills that other founding member Lee Norland so effortlessly pounds out, and the sheer viciousness through which the powerful sounding drums carry the songs.
The drumming isn’t the only exceptional thing on record, though- Orthner’s powerful, reverbed-out rasp cuts over the mix, augmented at times by a lower growl that Thibaudeau throws over the lead vocals for a powerful layered effect. The riffs range from blistering thrash-influenced death metal to slower, groovier black/death to immaculate death/doom with interludes of Deathspell Omega-style swirling slow bits mixed in throughout (most noticeably on Subconscious Nemesis); for every few minutes of incredibly groovy headbanging blasting Angelcorpse riffs that we get there are another couple of Celtic Frost or Autopsy, and unlike a lot of somewhat similar bands, Begrime Exemious does a fantastic job of really changing up pacing and riffage to keep each song interesting; there are no sections of two minutes of the exact same riff here (though there’s nothing wrong with that, when it’s well done), and when riffs repeat, it’s because Begrime knows that they’re more than cool enough for us to want to hear them again. Admittedly, the first time or two that I listened to the album, I felt like the album was bloated, but because of the ever-changing riffs and pacing, a few more listens in, I’ve realized that everything is chosen well, from song length to riff repetition, and there’s little that I’d change here. I can’t predict the future, but I’ll be surprised if I don’t revisit this album for years to come. Begrime have really done themselves, and their scene, credit with this one.