Begrime Exemious – Visions of the Scourge (Dark Descent Records, 04 April 2012)
Good afternoon! Remember yesterday when I wrote about the new Wrought Iron album? I mentioned that they’d be having a release show to celebrate TONIGHT, at Howler’s Coyote Cafe in Bloomfield (Pittsburgh). Full details on that can be found right here. That show also features locals Post Mortal Possession and two out-of-town bands who are each currently engaged in (separate) tours: Cryptic Yeast from New York, and Begrime Exemious from Alberta.
Well as it turns out, I remembered that I had an album from the Canadian band — one that I’d never quite gotten around to writing about, so it’s just sort of been sitting here in my “to do” pile for the past 2+ years. With this news that they’re coming to Pittsburgh, in the midst of what I believe to be their first American tour (outside of a short excursion down the Pacific coast last summer), I figured it’s as good a time as any to revisit Begrime Exemious and their second full-length album Visions of the Scourge. (They’ve also released a number of splits and EPs, before and since then, and you may be interested to learn that pretty much their whole discography is available to download from Bandcamp for free or “pay what you like” — see the relevant link at the end of this post.)
This crew of Edmontonians tends to self-describe as “filthy fucking metal of death” — which seems pretty accurate, except with one disclaimer. Granted, almost by definition, all death metal should be pretty dirty (or “begrimed,” if you will). There’s nothing worse than for everything to sound artificial, over-produced, squeaky clean, and anemic. And what we find on this album fits the bill: gnarly, venomous vocals that spew forth over gritty, buzzy, distorty riffs; all parts sounding raw and organic. That is to say, everything here is appropriately un-polished and un-pretty. At the same time, though, each component of the music stands out distinctly from all the other parts: whether as a result of the mixing or panning or whatever, the guitars and bass and every single snare or tom or cymbal hit can be very plainly distinguished. Which is also a good thing, because there’s also nothing worse than for everything to sound like a muddy mess. I mean, why bother to write a bunch of cool riffs and solos if they can’t even be heard? Why bother to have a great-sounding drum tone if it just gets lost in a quagmire of unidentifiable noise?
And there are indeed cool riffs and solos to be found, as well as a pretty incredible drum tone, over the course of these eight tracks and nine songs. (Yes — spoiler alert — there’s a hidden bonus track following about six minutes of silence after the final song listed, “Relic of Befouled Incantations.” I honestly had no idea people even still did this in 2012!) A couple of my favorite songs here are the opener “Incestuous Servitude,” which really highlights the great-sounding drumming, and “Chasm to Obscurity,” which includes some of the best riffs on the album, including some sweet slowed-down doom metal style riffage during the guitar solo(s) near the end of the song.
Generally speaking — since so much death metal out there tends towards one extreme or the other (too over-produced or too under-produced), or just ends up being boring with everything sounding the same — I don’t often listen to this genre very much, unless something really grabs my attention. Visions of the Scourge has done just that, and I’d recommend you give it a listen as well.
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