By: Al Necro

Cruciamentum | website | facebook |  bandcamp | 

Released on September 4, 2015 via Profound Lore Records

Cruciamentum are back! After a brief parting of ways, Grave Miasma mainstays R.C. and D. B-H return alongside D.I. and B.C. for Cruciamentum’s debut full-length album, Charnel Passages.

Signed to Profound Lore Records after a successful turn at releasing some demos and an EP, Cruciamentum return better than ever. Known for slow-to-mid-paced groovy shredding and double-bass kicking, they vary the tempos and drum patterns on Charnel Passages. Still heavy on double-kick, the occasional blastbeat adds nuance to their vaunted attack. Cruciamentum play a distinctly groovier style than Grave Miasma, enlisting D. I. for vocals this time around. D.I. effectively lays down the vocals for the album, though Cruciamentum die-hards may miss the low-register gurgle on the band’s older releases.

The songwriting is predictably brilliant on Charnel Passages. Their older releases had simpler arrangements, but Cruciamentum save the best for their Profound Lore Records debut, and all the better for it. Cruciamentum sound refreshed and rebooted for Charnel Passages. For a big fan of the band, I can’t be more delighted to report that Cruciamentum breaks barriers on their debut album, showing off a logical leap in songwriting prowess while adding more songs, a chockfull of enjoyable riffs, and musicianship that bests most osdm albums I’ve heard this year. Grave Miasma’s Odori Sepulcurorum was special, and R.C. and D. B-H return to Cruciamentum with a vengeance. Expect Cruciamentum to wave the flag of underground death metal for larger audiences.

The riffs aren’t technical or progressive. The shreds hone in on the double-bass kicks and the precision rhythm section takes care of the rest. Throw in occasional ambient touches, wailing leads, chants and riffs moving up the higher-registers and this album couldn’t get any better for the band’s logical progression. Cruciamentum could challenge for Grave Miasma’s larger more established fanbase. Expect to find a nice spot on your playlist for Charnel Passages. It won’t disappoint.

If you’ve always loved Cruciamentum, it won’t be hard for Charnel Passages to win you over. They don’t mess with their template very much and the band provide fresh riffs and what appears to be a renewed enthusiasm for the project. The riffs are simple, but well-written and well-played. The drums are on target, never overdoing fill-ins or under-performing in the least bit. The bass competently follows the guitars to add a second layer of grit and heaviness. The vocalist enunciates better than in past releases, allowing for some of the lyrics to be perceived. Album highlight ‘Tongues of Nightshade’ is classic Cruciamentum and more. All the tracks on the album have substance to contribute and the album plays like a group of songs in perfect cohesion.

Cruciamentum’s Charnel Passages is classic death metal. The underground shall rise and the stench will billow to high heaven. Fucking Essential!

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