It’s not for nothing that Acid Death has been getting so many accolades in the Greek scene since day one. Their return, with this fifth release is one that is all about broad and boundary-less sonic landscapes, diverse and, for the most part, intricately-forged experimentations, abstract riffage delivery and absolutely meaty groove, in addition to fucking stomping thrash and gritty, dirty kicks up the jaw, interlaced with strongly unpredictable sub-genre meshings that honestly make them a band that is very hard to categorize; they take all ends of the spectrum, throwing in all of the best elements from the essential books. As a final result, they offer one maze of songwriting that makes for a totally commanding blueprint. Take atonal riffs, moving and incredibly innovative cobwebs of prog melody, powerful drumming, an intricate low-end, and barking vocals that ooze with the fury and crowd-slaughtering pride of Phil Anselmo’s and the gnarliness of Randy Blythe’s, and add in a generous dose of gut-wrenching feel, and raging fucking catchiness to cap it all off, and holy heck, you’ll start getting Acid Death‘s drift. Their campaign, this time around, is captivatingly inspired one. It’s more than ready to take the entirety of the world by storm once and for all. I’m at a loss of words to describe the slaying at hand; it simply demands a back to back and attentive listen. It grabs and stubbornly pummels and amazes at every single sort of a turn.
The short ”Blind Reflection” is a one-way ticket to hell that’s absolutely cutting and on the freakin’ dial. It’s vigorously, positively, and massively damning, trampling and squashing brains in its wake. ”Crossing the Line” certainly accurately owns up to its title. The low-end here is dynamic, razor-sharp, and very actively involved in developing tight as heck progressive licks that forge a steel-solid backbone for the riffery to lay on. I’ll call it a third guitar on this record; it adds a finish to these songs that’s totally an essential in this picture. The staggering riff emerging from the get-go is nicely pestilential and shows that this band’s in the house to call the goddamn shots. Catchiness and progginess are both infused within the unfurling of this track in equal measures, which is a captivating fucking feat only bands with an experience that harkens back to ’89 could craft up with such precise friggin’ sharpness while meshing that many ranges of influences together, all rolled up into one single thinking line. An especially dynamic tech section crawls in around the 1.53 minute mark, with a sophisticated mish-mash of drum patterns that show a very fierce and actively eclectic know-how on Kostas Alexakis’ end. The vocal soaring in the background within that passage of the track reaches inward very aggressively, and that adds an incredibly fucking important touch to every track’s presentation; take it away, and Acid Death sure as heck isn’t the same. It’s an instrument of its own, taking the mind through six thousand different shades of anger, and Savvas Betinis’ range goes from tortured, low growls right up towards animalistic and compelling screams of utter, gory aggression that seriously hits the mark and makes the sum of the parts in each sharp attack presented here totally stand out and impose itself.
There’s even a certain thing about the groove, alongside the drumming around the 2.29 minute mark that’s a straight nod to Pantera‘esque, brick-smashing drive, on the rhythmic and drumming fronts alike. ”Towards Hate” keeps that flag a-wavin’ with a slight penchant towards a more ”Far Beyond Driven” route, with atonal, menacing, and considerably dirty slow-paced riffery. The verses are very somber and cavernous, with one thick and virulent main riff snaking its way in and throughout. The ambiance is gut-wrenching, suspenseful, tense, and decidedly moody, and Savvas’ vocals are savage and going through various tones that all bring out a ton of substance over the course of this track, all of their own. At ’round the 2.45 minute mark is an increasingly sepulchral, funereal abbyss that seriously turns the stomach over in one awesomely fucking capable way with intricate leads in the background. The vastness of the production makes that kind of moment stand out in a haunting, three-dimensional, and strongly grabbing manner. The layering on the guitars is also fucked up, adding a certain venom and a generous dose of morbidity to this one descent, which builds back into this slightly abstract-sounding ambiance with an extra kick of punch, sticking right out at you in a deliciously pugnacious way.
”Convict 655321” doesn’t lose any sort of impact and barges in straight out of the woodwork with this very Death-inspired melodic riff and drum pattern, which is fast evolving and very nuanced for the entire span of this track in particular. It’s a very tight prog number that really goes to further reaches on the tech front, steering this entire album towards more experimental outlines, and that works for Acid Death when it’s focused and meshed in with good grooves and rad melodies, never losing sight of the sense of direction and liveliness to the song’s arrangements. The riffs are monstrous and permeating here, and the same can be said about Betinis’ screams. The somewhat thrashy solo section is catchy and purifying as ever. ”Inside My Walls” took a little longer to fully sink in, seeming a touch more flat in its first half, with fairly slow-evolving riffage and a sense of tiredness going full-circle, but much to my delight, the 2.15 minute mark brings in this mega build-up with lead flourishes that are particularly entrancing. The developments of the track’s patterns are yet again proggy, and have this indescribable singularity to ‘em. There’s a tinge of Obscura‘ism going on here, but it’s still difficult to compare this track to anything else I’ve ever heard by other technical death bands over time.
Still, it’s even harder to argue with the quality of ”No Sky Above” which ranks as my favorite on this record, without a shadow of a second thought. It has not an iota of a prog leaning; it’s actually a thrash-tastic number of epic proportions. This incredibly ardent drumming rolls in atop of an eerie atonal rhythm section that kicks into one singular and punchy verse. This steamroller of a main riff is memorable to the point of somewhat reminding me of ”Seasons In The Abyss”-era Slayer‘esque types of musings, and the way the background drumming meshes with said twist on this sound also reminds me of what that album sounded like. Only the chorus retains that type of touch though, since all else about this track is definitely Acid Death‘s brand of thrash that has something definitely different, innovative, and refreshing about it. I gotta add that the soloing here is daringly distorted and undeadly, adding its very cool touch.
”Eidolon” is (quite the irony) the one track I have trouble digesting. It’s one example of what happens when technicality starts to drown out all other assets this band possess, from melody, right down to groove. It’s what I would define as laggy, and excessively hellbent on mathematical wankery. This doesn’t truly know to keep the attention on board. It starts off on a frantic and very blueprint route that works well in a moderately progressive way that sinks in truly well, and the vocals are still as forward as ever, which always helps. The shifts in pace are very unpredictable and somewhat intriguing, but at one point, it seems the riffs get caught into this knot of repetition, and the track eventually stumbles into excessively bland and calculating valleys with its very timid peaks. It gets unfocused and side-tracked, and lasts far too long for what it is (6:39). It especially got me puzzled around the 3.45 minute mark, going into this section centered on stringwork that has a certain haunting and bleak quality to it, but that’s very vague and wears off quickly, and seems like it doesn’t belong in the song, sticking out like a sore thumb amongst other ideas within this track that I find a tad questionable. There’s a good chorus with good background melodies, but the majority of the song left me frazzled. It’s the only point of this record where I had to sit back and wear the slightest hint of a frown.
”Odious Maggots” largely makes up for that moment of confusion with a sick gallop. The first verse is on a purely thrashy roll that simply doesn’t take any shit. The drumming is at the top of its game. The groove is stoutly solid, and goes into this mighty sweet n stompin’ melodic mid-section. The solo is absolutely mind-expanding. ”Dying Alone” sure knows to surprise with a totally opposite feel but an equal amount of awesomeness with a somehow neoclassical touch, with a somewhat depressive and majestically apocalyptic feel to it. The verses are very hollow and driven by neat stringwork, and the frontman’s vocals are at their most guttural. This builds into more of those thick Pantera-styled, dirty stampede southern-tinged riffs that really are a heck of a handful, crushing everything to bits all ’round, and against all odds, this thinking line evolves into a slightly classical and gothy chorus with its aura of intricate and luxurious melodies. The way those two facets of the sound have been put back to back makes for a menacing cut that’s absolutely oozing with thunderous and morbid fury. The instrumental ”Sole Truth” is a tad less theatrical, but very effective, with a strongly gnarly and filthy feel. The bleak cobweb of melodies emerging around mid-track is totally beautiful, inspiring, and unique.
You never know what to expect with Acid Death. They exploit all corners of their universe of talents and push the envelope fearlessly all across this record, and honestly, they succeed in the art of taking one’s breath away, leaving ‘em demanding for more. I sure as all heck NEED more; the fact that these guys are back around means that chaos will be stirred in ways everybody better gear up and fucking prepare for. ”Eidolon” is one of those records you can’t pass up on, if you think you’ve seen and heard it all. Until you’ve checked this record out, mark my words, you’re mistaken, and you’ll stand corrected as you walk out of this listening session feeling quite fuzzy about exactly what kind of cataclysmic storm just took over your brain.[Visit the band's website]