While there are plenty of big name death metal releases so far in 2007, (Nile, Behemoth, Immolation, etc) there’s one release that might slip under the radar but easily deserves your ear (as with Sarpanitum)-that is this debut full length record from Quebec’s Vengeful.

Touted for fans of Crytopsy, Nile, Immolation and Gorguts, the band’s lineage is impressive for a former side project with current and former members having served in Canada’s extreme elite (Atheretic, Despised Icon, Neuraxis, Torn Within), and while the name dropping seems heavy handed, the end result is a typically complex yet brutal and intellectual take on modern death metal that actually fulfills the press sheet’s promise.

Admittedly after the first song, “Sentenced” blew by under a sub two minute vortex of typically savagely intricate Canadian tightness, I braced for another 8 tracks of almost Origin like tenacity, only to have “Cold Ways” and the Gorguts-ish “Burial” suddenly deliver two impressive, choppy, technical tracks of time changing, challenging brutality. Then things got really interesting as the ten minute standout “Counterfeit Deity”. Holy crap is this an amazing song; Starting with a typical death metal expulsion, about three minutes in the track takes the first on many tangents with a layered, truly epic, almost Nile like lumbering mid section then blistering black metal blast beat, then a killer lengthy solo ridden section before yet another Nile-ish segue and more blackened furor. And that’s all in the first 7 minutes of the song!

“Burial pt 2” has a tough act to follow, but uses an evocative pianos and silence to settle things down before unleashing yet more violent and somehow original death metal. You want brutal, Unique Leader styled, deep grunt filled voracity mixed with Willowtip –ish complexity? Try the short sharp bursts of “Cleansing” and the title track. Then settle in for yet another lengthy, (8-minutes) brilliantly varied track, “Tempted” before delicate flamenco instrumental closer “Mortem Obire” allows you to catch your breath.

Even without the two amazing longer tracks, Karma has an air of freshness and creativity I have not heard in some time (Lykathea Aflame or Kralizec maybe?) while still appealing to all my death metal desires and should be an album all death metal fans should check out, especially those jaded with the predictability of some of the genres bigger names.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 25th, 2007


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