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Epitaph of Seikolos - "Comes The Angel Of Death" (Demo)

Epitaph of Seikolos - "Comes The Angel Of Death" Demo cover image

"Comes The Angel Of Death" track listing:

1. May the Crows Have Mercy On Your Flesh (3:18)
2. Your Words Have Scorched Clean The Earth (4:24)
3. Without Hope Or Fear (3:22)
4. Death As Final Arbiter (3:02)

Reviewed by on August 19, 2009

"Unfortunately the minimalist aspects of 'Comes the Angel of Death' will ensure that only a small subsection of devoted black metal fans will have any interest in hearing it."

In the fog-shrouded days of myth, when black metal was still being born in various basements across Norway, the corpse-painted men who would become legends had a dilemma. They needed to record their music, but lacked the funds to produce anything near professional quality. They went ahead anyway, and the “necro” sound was born. For whatever reason, whether due to similar equipment and money constraints or just to emulate the originators, many newer black metal bands follow the same path. Eschewing clear sound and distinguishable instruments, they take a minimalist approach that requires the listeners to be active participants in the music if they want to get anything out of it.

The debut demo, “Comes The Angel of Death,” from Epitaph of Seikolos falls firmly in that minimalist camp. Much like the Norwegian masters, they too hail from a frozen and empty landscape that leads to bleak thoughts, although it probably isn’t nearly as kvlt to admit your extreme metal band lives in Montana. Their minimalistic expression borders on that heard in Emperor’s “In The Nightside Eclipse,” so any potential listener should acquire a pair of high end headphones before proceeding. Listening to the demo on a car or home stereo will result in a buzzing mass of too quiet sounds that are barely recognizable, even at an absurdly high volume.

The lack of clean production is a bit of a shame, as there is engaging music hidden just beneath the surface. The final track, “Death as Final Arbiter,” is a particularly notable instance, as there are many different guitar sound effects used to vary the song and give it more personality. There are even times when female vocals make their way into the music, but they are so low in the mix that they may not even be noticed on the first listen through.

Opening track “May the Crows Have Mercy On Your Flesh” begins like all of the song on the demo, with a less heavy and more depressing guitar riff. The song seems like it may head off into melodic or gothic territory and then shifts abruptly into the abrasive black metal with distorted screeches and heavy guitars. As the deliberately paced track nears its end, the band brings out an interesting effect where a short guitar riff is repeated several times to give the impression that the album is skipping.

Epitaph of Seikolos has stated that they feel there is no preternatural meaning to their music and that it is just simply another kind of artistic expression. Their lyrics and the way they compose their songs seem to contradict that sentiment, however. The more melodic aspects of the music are clearly designed to evoke an emotional response from the listener, and the lyrics are crafted in such a way that they could be interpreted on multiple levels by different individuals.

Unfortunately the minimalist aspects of “Comes the Angel of Death” will ensure that only a small subsection of devoted black metal fans will have any interest in hearing it. Anyone who’s willing to break apart the layers of noise and work through the music will find interesting song structures and fascinating lyrics to ponder.

Highs: Fascinating lyrics that could be taken different ways, interesting guitar sound effects, nice atmosphere.

Lows: The production and mixing is bottom of the barrel.

Bottom line: A minimalist black metal demo that will appeal to fans of the "necro" sound, but may not be worth the trouble for anyone else.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)