In the Midst of Life We Are In Death

Though only active since 2008, Cerekloth is comprised of several members of the Danish metal scene including folks from The Cleansing, Usipian and Altar of Oblivion and following a couple of EP’s (Pandemonium Prayers & Halo of Syringes) the band has finally consolidated a solid line-up and released this accomplished debut album of grimy, groove-oriented death metal.

In the Midst of Life We Are in Death plods and thunders along with a burly, no-nonsense attitude on the back of some well thought-out structures and stellar song-craft. With a formula that largely forgoes speed, blast beats and technicality, Cerekloth succeed by embellishing their rolling grooves and straight-forward tendencies with shreds of darkened melody, classy leads and the structural variety and hooks to keep the listener engaged whilst avoiding the one-dimensional trappings that can derail a more sluggishly paced death metal album. Crafting burly, groove-based death metal songs is clearly the band’s main objective and they offset their chunky gait through intelligent underpinnings of melody and dexterous, dynamic musicianship; such as the spindly elasticity of the guitar lines and varied, nuanced drumming.

Cerekloth’s music conveys a sense of deranged darkness without resorting to a muddy, difficult to discern production job to get their murky vibe across. They want you to hear every crisp note while taking you on a dank and sinister journey. The slick production, although very low in volume, gives the album its punch and polish without sacrificing the eerie, foreboding atmosphere that shrouds the material. This is a deceptive beast which rewards patience and repeat plays to unravel the subtleties within and show that Cerekloth are no one-trick pony. Sure on the surface this stuff is relatively straight-forward with a no-frills bludgeon and drive, but there’s a great deal of attention put into the song-writing and arrangements on display. Cerekloth generally stick to a slow to mid-paced stomp and credit to their song-writing skills they never let the songs get bogged down by their immense weight. Instead they achieve forward momentum through subtle twists and dynamics threaded amongst their rumbling grooves and hearty swagger.

Lengthy opening tune “Praeludi Um +Born of the Void” takes its time as the long, extended intro builds anticipation and the ominously dark atmospheric tones suck you in. Eventually the tempo increases as tight double bass drumming takes hold amidst some killer riffing and deep growls. Over 7-minutes long, this ambitious opening cut could easily have been a misfire but nothing about the song comes across as over-stretched, loose or monotonous. Instead it showcases Cerekloth’s assured confidence in their execution and song-writing abilities, forming a strong ebb and flow that culminates in a tense, hard-hitting climax. The deep, gruff vocals are loaded with character and bellowing intensity, pushing beyond typical stock-standard fare and providing the perfect foil for the hefty assault that surrounds them. “Within the Hollow Crown” has a cavernous groove tied in with catchy riffs and one of the album’s infrequent bursts of speed. The occasional blast or quickened pace is executed with seamless precision and proves particularly effective through their sparse use. The pummelling surge of “Halo of Syringes” and the heavy-as-fuck, blast beat embellished fury of “When Outcast Become Kings” are a couple of other highlights on offer throughout a concise (38 minutes) and remarkably consistent album.

With 2013 shaping up as a mammoth year for death metal, Cerekloth’s excellent debut is in danger of falling through the cracks. Still for those willing to give this album their time and concentration the rewards are very satisfying. Cerekloth has crafted an intelligent debut full of sincerity, brute force and a complete lack of pretension. This is death metal that bows to no-one as Cerekloth charts a path that shows clear appreciation for the genre’s roots and history whilst forging ahead into fresh, addictive new territory. Recommended.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
April 17th, 2013


  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Wasnt feeling this as much as id hoped- maybe i should revisit it

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    digging the fuck out of this so far

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