Review by Ben for Epitaphe - II (2022) Review by Ben for Epitaphe - II (2022)

Ben Ben / June 02, 2022 / 2

I haven't heard French outfit Epitaphe's first album, so didn't really know what to expect here. It was listed as Death Doom primary, so there was a good chance I was going to find something to enjoy, but it was also one of those rare Death Doom albums that also have a Progressive Metal primary. It quickly became apparent that this was a release that was going to need quite a few listens to come to grips with. With three huge tracks that each come in just under 20 minutes in length, and all of which shift through different phases that are seamlessly combined but with very few returning themes, you have to let this work seep into your bones before you can make a proper judgement. I'm so glad that I committed to it, as the rewards are plentiful!

I'm not going to get caught in the genre weeds here, but I will say that this "feels" like a death metal record. Yes, there is some doom, particularly on Insignificant, but there's more death metal, with most of the 19 minute Celestial almost certainly appealing more to members of The Horde than anything else. The performances are fantastic, with all sorts of influences dropping in and out without anything feeling like it doesn't belong. One minute there's blasting death metal, the next there's a spacey clean-vocal moment with a saxophone (I'm reminded of a less silly Pan-Thy-Monium on more than one occasion), then it's into a doomy riff spiral with cacophonous drums. Over the course of two weeks, I've gone from knowing this album is good but struggling to hold onto anything long enough to fully unwrap it, to knowing when transitions are coming and looking forward to the huge payoffs that wait for me.

Seriously, this is a great album, and I fully intend to check out their debut. If it has a flaw, it's that it overindulges slightly, pushing over that hour mark when it didn't need to. The album starts with a three and a half minute acoustic piece that, while pleasant, adds nothing to the album, and while each of the three monsters contain loads of great sections, there's always one or two that tread water just a bit. I'm nit-picking though, and recommend II to all extreme metal fans.

Comments (1)

Sonny Sonny / June 02, 2022

Been listening to this one on and off over the last few weeks and am still trying to work up a review to do it justice. You are right Ben, it does need commitment on behalf of the listener but is definitely worth the effort.