Encrust
From Birth to Soil

This year-old Chicago outfit is going out this fall on Obituary’s Carnival of Death tour, which is packed with old-school death (the reformed Broken Hope, plus Jungle Rot), and technical death (Decrepit Birth). Yet the press notes described Encrust as similar to MastodonClutch or Kvelertak, so that seemed an odd addition to the bill. Then I sampled the first track, “Predatory Skin,” and all became clear. The music here may be the sound of summertime beers, bongs and beards, but the vocals are straight-up Bolt Thrower.

Usually with this kind of vaguely southern-fried, rumbly stoner groove, you’ve got equally versatile and shaggy vocals to go along with ‘em, but this relentless roar is a fun change-up. Don’t call it one-dimensional, call it single-minded – the sound of a pissed-off Sasquatch looking for a place to shit, and guess whose tent is pitched in the way? A few blackened post-hardcore shrieks try to break things up a bit, but they feel more like a gimmicky throwback than anything really necessary. Gorefest is a fair comparison too, particularly huge, angry guttural vocals over something that’s got more groove and swagger than you’d think for something of this bulk.

Musically, the whole of From Birth to Soil is a good diverse mix of the aforementioned bands – I hear a lot of Mastodon’s epic, almost cinematic lurch in “Grime Maiden.” I’d also throw some Monster Magnet in there too (the rollicking “Engine of Deceit” and meaty “Cult of the Cross”), or the sludgy psychedelic crumble of Brainoil (“World Lament.”) Overall, the record doesn’t come off quite as filthy or adventurous as High on Fire’s new one, but it also delivers more straightforward groove and satisfaction.

Encrust is sure to be an easy sell for your typical Relapse fan, so here’s hoping their crossover groove-n-roar wins some converts with death metal’s more stalwart crowds as well.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
August 13th, 2012

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