The Wretched Eidola

Written by: PP on 24/08/2011 19:10:52

It's refreshing to meet a Danish death metal band who isn't obsessed brutality to the extent that it becomes the sole purpose of the whole album. Crocell, from Århus, namely take the saturated genre and inject it with a breath of originality and, most importantly, enough melody to also attract people outside the serpentine riff and blast-beat loving metal heads to their sophomore album "The Wretched Eidola". Much of this can probably be attributed to their members' extensive experience in other critically acclaimed bands such as Panzerchrist and Compos Mentis, although Crocell is a considerably different-sounding unit to those groups.

If it's medium-tempo brutality and pounding you desire, songs like "In The Age Of Iron And Rust" provide just that for you. It's here where Crocell attempts to sound as conventional death metal as possible, complete with the guttural growls of their vocalist and punishing rhythm department. It's not here, however, that the band is at its most interesting, because there are two other facets to "The Wretched Eidola" which have a much stronger appeal. The first one is the melodeath-esque sound of songs like "Chronos", which refers directly to the old school At The Gates school of thought when it comes to Gothenburg-inspired melodic death metal. That said, Crocell keep their melodies toned down to the deeper levels ensuring that they still sound more like death metal than melodic death at all times. But one can't help but draw some parallels to the early metalcore bands as well given how closely their assault-speed riffs circle and swirl up and down scales nicely.

The second one - and my opinion the best side of Crocell - is found in tracks like "The Wretched Eidola", where the band reaches almost into Dark Tranquillity levels of rollicking melodeath, all the while injecting a boatload of melodic atmosphere as a backdrop to the growls and howls. The slow, build-up style melody is what makes the track easily the best on the record, and it's a shame that they didn't spend more time exploring their more atmospheric aspiration because it clearly works very well. That's not to take anything away from the speedy-and-skillful guitars in a fast-paced death metal track like "The Puritan Harlot", which is good in its own right, but again the slowly progressing atmospherics of "After The Take Of Winter" triumph when placed in direct comparison.

Aside from such petty discussion, I think we can all agree on "The Wretched Eidola" being a surprisingly strong and impressive album from a Danish metal band. If you ask me, it has the potential of appealing across the borders as well to mainland Europe (and Sweden at the very least), which rarely happens with the metal scene over here. Here's hoping for an adjustment of direction toward the more atmospheric stuff on their next album.

Download: The Wretched Eidola, Chronos, After The Take Of Winter
For the fans of: At The Gates, Dismember, Entombed
Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.05.2011
Ultimhate Records

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