Fans of murky, muddy, atonal death/black metal along the lines of Vasaeleth, Mithochondrion, Paroxsihzem, Ulcerate and Australian nasties like Impetuous Ritual and Portal, take note. Here is a duo from the depths if Philadelphia PA, that deliver that same churning, icky, sickly discordant noise and deliver it with an exclamation point.

And that’s no surprise as the duo is comprised of main instrumentalist Alex Poole who serves or has served in the likes of Krieg, Esoterica, Chaos Moon, Benighted in Sodom and In Ruins and USBM stalwart vocalist N. Imperial who you know from Krieg, Judas Escariot, Imperial, Twilight, The Royal Arch Blaspheme and Nachtmystium to name a few. So with that blacker line up, you can expect some filthy black metal hues a la De Magia Veterum to seep through, and seep through they do, as Lithotome is as you’d expect — an uncomfortable, nauseating listen that worms into your subconscious and devours thoughts.

It’s no surprise that N.Imperial does most of the psychic damage with his cavernous, sick rasps and otherworldly growls, but the rangy, oozing songs are also home to Poole’s filthy guitars and muddy bass lines that all come together with the vocals to forge a vortex of dissonant slime that’s a excellent entry into this sound’s genre. With ample, creepy (think early Leviathan) ambiance colliding with withering, crawling invasive atonal riffs and caustic blasts, Lithotome isn’t a quick catchy listen, but a painful, torturous exercise that burrows and undulates with a tangible black sheen and stench.

And even though the mix isn’t as grating or forceful as some of their peers (especially the thinner drums), the slightly less dense sound allows for some insidious listenability within the void, rather than sheer, oppressive claustrophobia. Still the likes of “Comavoid”, “Foundation of Sanity Lost”, “A Halo’s Swarm of Locusts”, and the albums closing 11 minute centerpiece “Mother of Worms” are all sanity shredding mantras of palpable dread.

That all being said, the songs and the album are missing that push you into the abyss finishing, finality that rolls your eyes back into your head and makes your tongue loll lifelessly in your mouth, despite it’s sickly plods and swarming blasts. Still, it’s a listen that will induce comatose like symptoms and allow you to come back from the brink. Be thankful.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 26th, 2013


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    “sanity shredding mantras of palpable dread” from Philly? Shit, gotta hear this.

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