Engulf
Gold and Rust EP

Ain’t that a shame?… No, I’m not referencing the legendary rock and roll badass, Fats Domino. The shame that I refer to is the fact that while the bigger metal labels, i.e. Metal Blade, Century Media, Nuclear Blast, and Relapse, continue to push a lot of the same bands on us, the listening/buying metal fans, for the past ten to even twenty years, other phenomenally outstanding acts remain delegated and/or cast aside to the minor leagues or worse. That’s okay though, because we fans aren’t always so easily influenced or fooled into consuming the same old thing. Case in point, New Jersey’s Engulf and the new EP, Gold and Rust.

Taking musical inspiration and influence from some of the mightiest in the business, i.e. Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Pestilence, (old) Gorguts, Hate Eternal, and even Warfather, Ulcerate, and Nader Sadek; Engulf forge a death metal might of ability, technicality, and unabashed ruthlessness in a tightly focused and well written display of creative force. The brainchild of one Hal Microutsicos (Blasphemous), Gold and Rust is a mere three tracks, with an eleven minute, over before you know it, running time, all written, performed, and programmed by Microutsicos himself. Lets face it, while one-man bands/projects have gotten significantly better over the last 20-25 years, with a few really putting out some top-tier material, there are still many who just don’t quite cut the mustard. Fortunately for us, Engulf are not one of these “many”. Gold and Rust shows a songwriting maturity spawning from an obvious love and devotion to not only the EP’s tracks, but to death metal as a whole. I’d be lying and guilty of down-playing if I didn’t recognize Engulf as being one of the best one-man bands I’ve ever heard, much less just being a kick-ass act altogether.

Opener, “Maul”, wastes no time in throwing sick riffs and blasts in your face, the song has a mean groove while displaying some great fretwork and interplay. Hats off to Microutsicos for achieving a really great sound and performance with the drums on Gold and Rust, as they really do add to the freshness of the material. The riff change-up at the 3:00 minute mark is quite tasty by itself, but the added flairs and sightly changing pattern structure of the drums push it to another level. Especially, at the 3:27 mark, where the drums open the riff up with a bit of airiness that is most successful. Fat chords, trills, tremolo runs, and pinch harmonics, the stuff of great death metal riffing, all of this and more can be found on “Misshapen Abominations”. The track’s heavy Pestilence vibe rings throughout while delivering quite an impressive crush and slithering beatdown of death metal bliss.

“Sovereign to the Seven Underworlds” closes things out on this quick little banger in superb form. Its Suffocation meets Pestilence backbone and ascendancy is to die for. Whether it’s the semi-slamming brutality at the 1:25 mark or the Broken Hope vibe that starts at the 3:00, this track will leve you wanting more. I think that is one of the things that is most successful about Gold and Rust, its ability to leave you craving more. Sure, a lot of it has to do with its super short playing time, but another part of it, a big part, is the fact that the material found on Gold and Rust is more engaging, enjoyable, and entertaining than many full-lengths being released nowadays. Hell, my only possible quip would be that I personally, would like a bit of bonafide soloing in a few places.

This having been my inaugural encounter with Engulf, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Gold and Rust is actually a second chapter in a three part series of EP releases, the first, Subsumed Atrocities, being released late last year; which, after spending a little time with, I can testify to being just as kick ass as Gold and Rust…even if it is only two songs and eight minutes long. Hopefully, we’ll get the third part sometime early next year and hopefully, Everlasting Spew or some other/bigger label will see fit to release all three EP’s in a quality consolidated offering. I can really see a label like Willowtip or Season of Mist doing a good job with this material and Engulf as a whole. Foresee-ably, this act could very well become a much bigger identity in the annals of death metal if given the proper chance and push. Unfortunately, the labels that can actually push a band to the next level are too busy dealing with, dare I say, a lot of has beens…Ain’t that a shame.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
August 31st, 2018

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