Published Mar 27, 2020The putrid soil of the American Pacific Northwest continues to spew out ravenous zombies of the old-school death metal revival, Warp Chamber amongst them. Their 2018 demo was coveted by tape trading cultists of the underground, and on the back of that hype, the band bring us their debut, Implements of Excruciation.
Warp Chamber harken to the odd melodic sensibilities of Morbid Angel, the pummelling riffage of early Suffocation, and some Nordic weirdness by way of Crematory and Abhorrence. Their tendencies are apparent from the skull-rattling blast beats and tight staccato riffs of album opener "Abdication of the Mind." "Shadows of Long Forgotten Terror" and the labyrinthine "Harvesting the Life Force of a Crumbling Orb" are head-bobbers of speed-picking bedlam that really drive home the strange melodic direction. The album closes on "Exultant in Cthonic Blasphemy," going back on the attack with a barrage of gut-punching riffs. They're serviceable songs, but don't offer much in the way of originality.
Then there are the growls. Of course, death metal is no stranger to eccentric vocalists. Antti Boman of Demilich and the inimitable Lord Worm, formerly of Cryptopsy, had bizarre styles of growling, which gave their bands something unique and recognizable. However, what Warp Chamber went for here is questionable. The vocals are as wet and incomprehensible as possible, like listening to a gurgling puddle of phlegm, and often not in a good way. The panning vocal effect on "Harvesting…" really highlights how unintentionally hilarious they can be.
With a little restraint, they could have added to the album's eldritch tone, but instead they're like a movie monster that loses its shock because it hogs the spotlight. Regardless of what could have been, Implements is a competent, albeit derivative, debut. (Profound Lore)