Album Review: ÆVANGELIST Omen Ex Simulacra
Evangelist, noun: one who spreads the gospels of Christ far and wide, with the intention of converting as many new acolytes as possible, by such means as AM radio, cable broadcasts, and megachurches. Ævangelist, proper noun: a duo of shadowy prophets arisen from Hell or someplace thereabouts who spread an alternative gospel of darkness, suffering, and anguish to the masses beyond hope of redemption. The former promises eternal salvation, at the cost of unblinking obedience and generous financial donations. The latter promises nothing more than a prolonged baptism by noise, horror, and a sound and thorough beating, simply because you deserve it.
Now, after 2012’s De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis, is the second coming of Portland, Oregon’s Ævangelist: Omen Ex Simulacra. From the opening ambient soundscape on “Veils,” to the tortured electric screams of “Hell-Synthesis,” and onward to the shattered-mirror blast beats in “Seclusion,” Omen Ex Simulacra promises you no peace in the eight forthcoming tracks of unconventional death metal, pounded and strangled and left bare atop layer after layer of sonic nightmares—whispers and thunder, babies crying in a lonely void, tortured shrieks of inhuman things wailing in minor keys and frantic pleas for mercy and chants to nameless horrors best left buried and forgotten.
At every turn, every bridge, every rhythmic shift, the cacophony is unrelenting. This undercurrent expresses a range of effect both vast and discomfiting, as tortured and visceral as a thing trying to extrude itself from the underworld through a magma vent. These subhuman textures support like a foundation of damned souls a massive and focused blackened death metal assault that sounds—if not exactly brutal—sick, nasty, just downright evil.
The entire work conveys a sense of perpetual, deepening regression which some will find unpleasant, even intolerable. But that’s sort of the point: this music isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t care if you don’t like it. The experimental black/death subgenres are not known for their commercial viability, nor for their legions of loyal fanatics, nor even for including many good bands among their ranks in the first place. Mitochondrion, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Flourishing, while similar to Ævangelist in the strangeness of their styles and their own relative obscurity, are yet distinct—few if any acts directly compare.
Omen Ex Simulacra will be out November 29 from Debemur Morti Productions. Tracks from the album are streaming now at the Ævangelist bandcamp page.