Atrae Bilis
Divinihility EP

Atrae Bilis is promoted as technical death metal. Canadian technical death metal, to be specific. I didn’t know this, or at least had never thought about it before, but with that genre tag, they’re in great company. Gorguts, Cryptopsy, and more recently, Archspire fit that bill. As just mentioned, great company, even if I don’t agree with the descriptor.

Sure, these gentlemen are proficient with their instruments, but this is not your standard tech death. Upon first listen, I was surprised to hear it has more in common with the progressive, spacey death metal peddled by the likes of Blood Incantation and an overlooked gem of the sub-genre from this year, Black Curse. Listen to the first track and tell me I’m wrong.

That first track doesn’t take long to get going. With an album of 6 tracks and barely over 22 minutes, they don’t have long. “Gnode” is the title of the track in question. At just over a minute, you get some blast beats, some skronky death metal riffs with a spacey sound, and a lead in to track 2, “Sulphur Curtain.”

Not exactly an epic itself at 3-and-a-half minutes, “Sulphur Curtain” gets going quickly with some death vocals and some slam gurgles. Also included is some dissonance that would find its home on an Ulcerate album. With about 15 seconds left, the song speeds up, thinking another raucous section is about to begin, but after a quick repeat of an earlier refrain, the next track is full steam ahead.

That can be said for the following track, “Phantom Veins Trumpet,” which flows quickly into “Ectopian.” At over 5 minutes, consider this one an epic with its extended (relatively speaking) instrumental section and repeated refrain (twice). It’s also only 1 of 2 songs to eclipse the 5-minute mark.

The next one to do so is the closer, “A Ceremony of Sectioning.” About a minute-and-a-half into its old school death metal beatdown, it teases a breakdown, but then goes back into the verse. You can feel the build again right after that verse, then we get a somewhat buried, yet sustained lead break. Back into the blasting and a violin comes in to accompany the music before the album is finished.

I have one complaint. It’s not long enough (yeah, yeah). This is rare because I am quite satisfied with albums being short. 20 minutes for a supposed “full length (heh)” seems like a rip off until you realize you want to play it again. So, maybe that’s the point? Play the album twice in a row. Regardless, in a year of wins for powerhouse metal label Transcending Obscurity, this is another one. This album hits you hard, does what it came to do, satisfies you, then goes home… unless you’re up for another round. In and out. Like a gentleman.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
November 13th, 2020

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