Edenic Past
Red Amarcord

[A meeting at the Extreme Metal Research & Development Labs, Level 5, The Moon]

“Krallice goes Disgorge (US)”………….

“That’s it?”

“That’s the pitch.”

“Isn’t that just Gorguts?  They share a member”

“…No…  Gentlemen, women, and non-human friends present, if you’ll fit your VR headsets on, I’ll explain this incredible breakthrough in today’s presentation.

Gorguts recent output is yes, cosmically wondrous, but more so rooted in European classical music.  Like the Kepler Space Telescope, later-era Gorguts is impressive engineering.  Exploring the edges of outer space, but ultimately rooted in Earthly constructs.  Red Amarcord is an abysmal union between the labyrinthine, otherworldly orchestrations of Krallice, and relentless, planet-harvesting onslaught that is Disgorge’s Consume The Forsaken.  Those demonic beings featured on the cover are merely drones controlled by greater forces of intelligence for which Edenic Pasts’s contorting music serves as a decrypted message to mankind translating roughly to:

“Human fear is a source of energy needed to power our space-faring vessels in another dimension.  There is no alternative.  Soon.”

A truly disturbing message to us all.

I’ve eluded to the members but let’s do a proper roll call.  They who have computed the forbidden. Necessary to bring forth an album of space time-flickering, down-tuned horror:  As I understand it, Edenic Past is the spawn of bass player and Krallice member Nicholas McMaster.  Naturally, Krallice bandmate, Gorguts bass player, and hermit proprietor of Menegroth The Thousand Caves Recording Studios, Colin Marsten, commits guitar.  No simple 6 string affair you can be certain. Lastly, the guttural vocal putrefaction is performed by none other than P2 Loggia label boss, Paulo Paguntalon.  Paulo is otherwise known from the 00’s decidedly un-PC ping death metal frontiersman Copremesis, free jazz-influenced death metal Encenathrakh, and many others.  Paulo is also a recurring resident ping death metal scholar on HeavyHole podcast.  There really isn’t a more legitimate cast of boundary-less, underground figures.

[Here it is suggested the reader locate and begin playing the album. Allowing a few minutes to let it translate before continuing]

Do not confuse what you hear as being guitar, and bass riffs.  They are in fact the dense murmur-ation of thousands of undulating alien spirits groaning in a complex sequence.   Either in anguish or wailing in hideous anticipation?  The sound of which echoes through the halls of a 10,000 year old vessel drifting in the nothing of space after a bizarre transportation to our dingy, back alley of a solar system.  The vessel: produced by means more observably akin to black arts than science.  Appearing opaque, cloudy obsidian to human eyes. Enveloped in the darkest mist, like vanta black mixed with scarlet red, swirling about its shifting form.  Our findings reveal that certain beings aboard the vessel in fact are using McMaster and Marston to channel their layered, telepathic language; incomprehensible to humans unable to perceive the inverted cosmic structure of dimensions both near enough for some to sense, yet only provable using mathematics that would cause illness in those that attempt to study it.  Unfortunate results are typically vomiting and loss of consciousness, however, the unique minds of the men involved means they’re each uniquely suited to decipher the alien thought-form.  Composing it into sensory overloading death metal.  The nearest form of expression we can hope to understand.

Red Amarcord in feel is parallel to the grand, synthetic dread of dark ambient more so than any death metal record.  Pull up the latest Cryo Chamber records release, or Source Direct drum & bass single, and compare. Warm, but only like that of steam rising from sewer caps during an 11pm November rain on the streets of Neuromancer’s Chiba Japan.  The bass on this album is a vindication for every death metal record with sub-audible bass presence.  When death metal bass is given it’s due in the mix it only enhances the experience.  End of discussion.  Here it receives equal life in the mix as the guitar. Every bit as sonically and compositionally important as the guitar. The combined tone of their instruments reminiscent of a four-fingered percussive strike upon prepared piano strings; A pleasing dissonance.  Nimble fingers spin a beautiful chaos of crashing transitions between Cecil Taylor-like fret runs and slam parts that sound like an iron maiden being repeatedly opened and shut.  The interplay is purposeful and complimentary as if it all were a ballet choreographed by harsh noise obsessive, The Rita. 

The drums.  I was hoping to reel readers in before informing that the drums are programmed.  Should some find programmed drums cause for dismissal.  If thats the case I intensely urge that this prejudice be set aside and the record given at least a single real listen.  Particularly because these are the most finely composed DAW based drums I’ve ever heard.  It’s not so incredibly shocking considering the sophistication of today’s production tools and the quality of attainable samples.  The drumming in death metal is more dynamic than black metal or grind, where programmed drums are more commonly employed, which risks making for awkward, or monotonous rigidity of rhythm not typically heard in the genre. This is not an issue on Red Amarcord.  Here the drums are quite meticulously arranged and thus more convincingly organic.  Which they would have to be with the unreal frequency of time signature changes, stops, and turn-on-dime shifts that occur.  Per the credits, Marston managed taking the fundamental drum tracks created by McMasters and sound engineered them to be as natural as have ever been presented in metal.  Very impressive are the parts when ping snare gravity blasting appears.  Generally, at such speeds when programmed, the snare tends to sound like a DJ Tron gabber record. These details alone speak volumes to Marston’s and McMasters patience for detail and dedication to concept.

Edenic Past have created an indisputably unique record, but it is entirely rare that brutal death metal features passages that can be described as beautiful.  Taking into consideration an audience whose sense for beauty tracks toward the deeply mangled, and grotesque.  Were you in a space suit, low on oxygen, knowingly in the gravitational grip of a black hole, demise imminent.  Would you not absorb the cosmically spiritual spectacle of your surroundings?   Impossibly old stars, smeared purple gas clouds, countless sparkling galaxy’s, transmitting through the millions of cones of your eyes to the brain; a humbling awe.  That is the existential, larger than one’s self, sense of beauty I refer to. The specific passage being the final 57 seconds of the masterpiece “Politkovskaya”.  Marston’s guitar is a chorus, and perhaps octave shifted drenched DMT journey through a cube of jagged beings where McMasters’ bass, chugging in jerks and fits, represents their secret work spinning the fabric of our universe. Paulo’s vocals, a boiling vat of tar, vacillate between long quivering pyroclastic spew and The Predator’s antagonizing throat rattle. At it’s climax a sudden, cruel return to our reality when the song ceases after an incredulous 2:36.

Red Amarcord is smart, not because of it’s expert-level technical chops, as is the case when brutal death metal is typically considered smart, but that McMasters puts himself into the album.  The song titles infer the songs inspiration as an avid consumer of higher literature, world affairs particular to his ethnic lineage, and music.  The humorously titled, “Chuck Schuldiner” is an analogue to the late metal prodigy’s progressive death metal consideration of philosophy. Acknowledging the beauty, vileness, and terrifying insignificance of human experience into the compositional deformity of death metal.  Album stand out, “Politkovskaya”, is inspired by Russian journalist and writer Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya.  A thorn in the side of communism and the eventual totalitarian regime of Putin she was assassinated in 2006 after what was likely a long career under constant threat. “Molotov” and “Kolmya” are references to the Stalinist purges of intellectuals disagreeing with his regime. Buyers of the cd will find liner notes on each songs inspiration.

In a way I’m glad this review wasn’t completed and published later than intended.  Rather quickly does the torrent river of metal releases move.  Even at the time of release, it seemed that each member had dropped a half dozen projects between them, immediately overshadowing Edenic Past.  Particularly the Miasmatic Necrosis record, cool as it is to see goregrind enjoying a bit of a renaissance.  I can only hope this then inspires a few to rewind and investigate.  A killer metal record might excite my adrenal core and get my blood pumping, but there are parts on Red Amarcord that affect me in a way some of my favorite, to be genre-agnostic, emotionally charged albums do.  Red Amarcord is a sonic proclamation of what extreme metal can be capable of.  Brutal, detailed, and personal.  Like a math-magical black hole there are points so dense it repels you while simultaneously pulling you in with equal force.  Finally, introverts whose art book collection rivals their New York Death Metal collection have an album just for them.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mars Budziszewski
March 5th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Mars-very thorough and thought provoking review. I really enjoyed it. The drum programming on this I am just not a huge fan of the ridiculous double bass typewriter style.


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