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Album Reviews : Engulf – Gold and Rust

By on July 13, 2018

Engulf‘s Gold and Rust is the second EP in a series of three, following on from last year’s Subsumed Atrocities, all the work of one Hal Microutsicos. As with the previous EP, Gold and Rust is another promising step in the right direction, offering three solid tracks of American-style technical death metal madness. Twisted riffs and pinch harmonics abound, but it isn’t just a constant stream of semiquavers from all instruments, as Microusticos knows when to pull the guitars back into a nice backbeat groove to provide some contrast. Production is generally pretty clinical and clean, as is expected of tech death, though notably Gold and Rust has maintained a fair amount of sonic force that other bands can lack in tech death. Vocals are serviceable and well-performed, but could perhaps be a bit more forward in the mix to round the sound out a bit.

Engulf have reached a great achievement with structuring this EP in that each song manages to have a reasonably clear identity of its own without detracting from the overall cohesion of the EP. The opener ‘Maul Master’ gives a brief atmospheric opener that manages to mix the typical full-bore tech death with some pretty solid riffing and songwriting chops that broadly demonstrate what to expect from this EP. The second track ‘Misshapen Abomination’ combines the frantic pinch harmonic riffing with a very nice sense of groove resulting in a nice mix reminiscent of Morbid Angel meeting with the early work of Decapitated or Ulcerate. ‘Sovereign of the Seven Underworlds’ closes out the album with a nice thrashy opening riff that provides a bit of contrast, before returning to the staple tech death riffing that ends on a strong note.

Overall, Gold and Rust hits the right notes, but suffers somewhat from the main drawback of a three-song EP: there’s less opportunity to demonstrate progression and contrast compared to a full-length album. What’s on offer is certainly promising and done well, but feels somewhat standard at the end of everything and I’m left wanting something more, some kind of further development. Given that this is part two of three and was written at the same time as the previous EP, I question whether it might have been better to release all three as one album, allowing Microusticos to demonstrate the full range of his take on tech death. That said, there is clearly a concept behind the EP trilogy, and these sorts of decisions are always the purview of the composer, leaving the opportunity for the third EP to complete the set nicely. Regardless, Gold and Rust and Engulf are definitely worth investigating for fans of the genre who are after a bite-sized offering from a modern band.

Band: Engulf
Album: Gold and Rust
Year: 2018
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Everlasting Spew Records
Origin: USA