Ænigmatum - Deconsecrate (2021)Release ID: 30157

Ænigmatum - Deconsecrate (2021) Cover
UnhinderedbyTalent UnhinderedbyTalent / September 21, 2021 / Comments 0 / 0

Ænigmatum are a bit of strange one for me. I bought Deconsecrate on vinyl after one listen on Spotify which considering that I usually like my death metal more blackened and horrific as opposed to progressive and clever is a bold move for me. In the run up to this purchase I was listening to a lot of Death, specifically Individual Thought Patterns which I guess kind of put me in the mindset for Ænigmatum’s brand of bass heavy and proggy death metal.

To reference a more recent similarity though, Deconsecrate also reminds me of VoidCeremony’s debut full-length from last year. Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel was another bass driven affair that referenced enough DiGiorgio style of playing to make me be like all 90s an’ shit. Brian Rush does a similar job on Deconsecrate, often playing his own thing as he does runs and plays seemingly outside of the rest of the proceedings yet somehow seamlessly connected to the very core of what is going on. The bass coupled with the remarkable drumming of Pierce Williams are the two standout performances on what is still overall a very tight and well composed record. Watching videos of both Rush and Williams perform, it is clear they are the main driving talent of the band yet neither dominate the performance. The lead and melody work of Eli Lundgren and Kelly Mclaughlin is crisp and clear, and their busy riffing style applies an important gravity to the tracks.

Now, I have very little reference points to prog-death so I am not insinuating that there is anything remarkable here in comparison to the rest of the sub-genre as I genuinely do not have enough experience to do any real comparison. What I do hear on Ænigmatum’s sophomore release though shapes up for some memorable and thoughtful performances. There is an innate sense of measurement present throughout the album, like everything is in its rightful place and each of these parts are nurtured into their slot by the rest of the instrumentation. McLaughlin’s vocals are death metal 101 really and yet they roll superbly over the riffing and rhythms without feeling like they are intrusive or trying to overbear anything else.

The pacing on the album is almost gentle at times and has an odd soothing quality to it. The death metal elements as a result can feel more melodic in origin, deploying hints of At The Gates here and there. Still though it is the climbing bass of Rush and the resolute drumming of Williams that constantly jump out at you. In the more frantic moments of the album, you end up almost caught between them and wondering which one to follow or chase after for the best. They do somehow still compliment one another though which again is testimony to the talent of the artists themselves.

I think there is more to come out of the Ænigmatum camp in the future that will captivate me for a few more records yet I hope. For all the success I have highlighted on this review there is still an element of some variety needed in terms of structure with only the instrumental that opens side B of the album being the main palate cleanser so to speak. However, this remains one of my real finds of 2021 so far and one that is liable to chart quite high on my year end list.

Saxy S Saxy S / August 30, 2021 / Comments 0 / 0

A couple of weeks ago, I briefly spoke about the new Ophidian I album and described it as a fairly decent blending of melodic and technical death metal, even if for me personally, the technical portion exhibited far too much of the foreground. Ænigmatum's album now asks what would this sound like it the focus was reversed?

I find Deconsecrate to be engaging in its technicality, but not holding onto the wankery prominent in technical death for very long phrases. "Disenthralled" and "Fracturing Proclivity" have very good balancing acts and the group does a solid job of making these tracks feel connected. Themes are sparse, but are developed throughout the track runtimes. Furthermore, themes are not kept divided based on which side of the melo-tech see-saw you're on; in fact, themes are regularly transformed between the two sections, and not making the opposing sections feel like glorified interludes.

The mixing is very good. The vocals reminded me heavily of Dying Fetus' John Gallagher. The guitars are heavy and melodic, and provide some much needed counterpoint to the fruitful and progressive bass that has plenty of room to breathe for melodies as well as some solo breaks. Percussion is top notch; there is a lot of double bass on this album, so it becomes very important that it won't become overbearing. Beyond that, the technical wizardry of Pierce Williams is wonderful as they make huge blast beats and extended drum fills.

Unfortunately for this album, it has two major flaws. The first is because of the loss of a true rhythm guitar, sections of this record fall flat. In all honesty, it feels more like a "you win some, you lose some" scenario; depends on the track. The other big issue is that in comparison to other prominent progressive death metal bands (Rivers of Nihil, Rannoch, An Abstract Illusion), there isn't very much that makes this record stand out by comparison. Whether that be the use of soaring melodic passages, or an uncommon musical instrument, this feels a little too predictable. I do like the tones on display here, but what really makes this record a cut above the progressive death metal albums from Alkaloid or The Faceless?

For me, I can see where Ænigmatum are coming from and I did enjoy Deconsecrate. While the melodic and technical sides of death metal are meshed well together, the record is mostly propped up by some excellent songwriting and production. However, without a truly distinguishing feature, I fear that Ænigmatum may get left behind in the annals of progressive death metal.


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 4 | Reviews: 2


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 2 | Reviews: 1


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 3


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 3

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Ænigmatum chronology

Ænigmatum (2019)
Deconsecrate (2021)