Review: CRUCIAMENTUM Charnel Passages
Death metal is one of the foundations of metal that is enduring and will never cease to exist. Many bands have formed excellent albums within this genre, this sets the standards high when evaluating 2015 death metal creations. Cruciamentum, meaning torture in Latin, takes a tried and true formula in their approach, but is able to create an original masterpiece in Charnel Passages.
This four member band from the United Kingdom have been slowly building a following and a positive reputation. Their music is hard to ignore. Even at first listen, ones curiosity is furiously sparked. Since 2007, Cruciamentum has produced a demo, a split, and an EP. Finally on September 4th, 2015, Charnel Passages was released. Their first full-length, distributed by Profound Lore Records, consumed listeners.
One of the immediate characteristics Cruciamentum displays is their excellent choice in album artwork. Their EP, Engulfed in Desolation, is an excellent album, and the artwork only makes it more desirable. It follows the more traditional approach to classic death metal cover art. Charnel Passages imagery is much different, but still has the spirit of the traditional art. After examining the cover art, let the analysis of the music commence.
Initial impressions are fairly accurate. This album is a perfect example of what death metal is, and how much more there is to explore in the genre. The shortest song on Charnel Passages is five minutes, and the intensity in each song never abates. The rhythm guitar will escort the listener through the entire album. There are several significant solos, but the strength is in the rhythm of the album and the song's journey will carry you on an unforgettable voyage.
"Necrophagous Communion" is an excellent example of this. The song starts with steady blast beats that continue throughout the song, only altering tempos and pausing for the transitions into guitar solos. This steady roll of percussion's does not grow wearisome. Cruciamentum elegantly places the perfect dose of these beats throughout the song, yet they remain the backbone. This incessant blasting complements the rhythm guitar perfectly. When the two guitar solos appear in this track, they are short and concise.
One of my personal favorites is "Piety Carved From Flesh". It again contains the melodic flow this band is so impeccable at executing. The three main segments of this track are all so unique and yet similar at the same time. The final two minutes have one of the best death metal groove segments I have enjoyed in a very long time.
Whether you're an old metal head, or new to the genre of death metal, it's easy to appreciate the talent Cruciamentum possesses. I believe Charnel Passages is, without a doubt, one of the best death metal albums to be released in 2015. If this is a taste of what Cruciamentum is able to construct, good things are certain to come.