Acephalix
Theothanatology

It’s been five years since the Bay Area’s Acephalix released Decreation back in 2017, and there have been a few changes, as the band is now a five-piece again with a couple of lineup changes. But the sound has not changed; it’s still a filthy, death metal-based form of D-beat/crust that’s part Grave, part Nails, part Bolt Thrower, part Vastum (with whom Acephalix share vocalist, David Butler) and all bulldozing, blunt force trauma.

To these ears, the band has gone back a little more to the hardcore/D-beat/crust of their earlier efforts Aporia and Interminable Night, with more cantering, galloping D-beat-paced songs amid the murky, mid-paced death metal lumberings, even with Butler’s pure death metal bellow. And all of it is rendered by Greg Wilkinson (Autopsy, Static Abyss, Vastum, Undergang), so it comes with a nice low-end and viscous, dense guitar tone, and is a little less Stockholm inspired than the prior two efforts.

But the thing is, for all its burly bluster there’s something missing here. There are very few dynamics going on in Theothanatology. It rumbles and trundles with aplomb, but it’s super simplistic from start to finish and never delivers anything that really gets me going or I recall when the album is over.  Now I understand the style isn’t about vast progressive moments or sweeping arpeggios, but from opener “Theothanatologist” to closer “Atheonomist”, I really don’t feel like there was a go-to song or riff that I can hang my hat on and each song essentially does some small variation of the same thing. There’s a D-beat canter, there might be a blast beat, there’s a rumble, there’s a slower part, there’s more rumbling…and so on. Which is certainly fine if you want a simple beat down.

“Abyssal” is OK, and so is “Innards of Divinity” which does add a little subtle melody to the formula I guess. and closer “Atheonomis” has a nice little grooving main riff. But for the most part, while I’m listening to Theothanatology I’m actually kinda……bored? Which pains me to say as I rather enjoyed Decreation and Deathless Master.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 18th, 2022

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