Sentinel Apocalypse from Eschaton is just one of those releases that seems utterly perfect at executing the first blow in bare-knuckle, technical death metal. Everything that happens after opener, Obligatory Conviction, is undeniably fantastic, but it is in the first few moments that followers of bands such as Man Must Die, Agonyst, and Meshuggah are likely to be hooked.
Unlike the majority of artists circulating the technical metal genepool, Eschaton, while capable of laying down some brutally mind-scrambling lead work, aren’t afraid to get creative in their more simple moments as well. Not many one-string break downs for these lads. No, instead they have embraced the power of the riff to provide the counter-point to their vast array of swirling insanity.
On tracks like Achromatic Reign, they take it yet further, transforming seemingly impossible strings of sweeps and chugs into a rhythm all of their own, setting the head nodding and the feet tapping, even on first spin. It’s a series of master-strokes from a group of musicians who really seem to understand the balance between intricate displays of skill and emotional musical attachment.
Personally, I’d like to hear a bit more experimentation with chorus structures, but it’s really not a grievance worth worrying about, and is easy to fully forget in the wake of some seriously hefty vocal work. The thick gutturals employed provide a sense of ease in the jarring landscape laid down beneath them, and tie the whole affair together very nicely.
Crushing, engaging, compelling, at times confusing, and, quite possibly, completely insane, this is a band to keep careful watch on, ears drooling in anticipation of what chaos will be hammered into order next. Fellow musicians may be left wondering whether they should just put down their instrument and give up, or pick it up and play until the Devil himself arrives to shake their hand. Either way, Eschaton are a game-changer, and you’ve got some catching up to do. Get this in your ears, now!