Production: Muddy as hell, detuned, gassy.
Review: Cenotaph have developed brilliantly a national sound for Mexico in a pungent mix of the heavier, guttural, chugging, syncopated American sounds that bonds guitar bash to drum abuse under the aegis of a barfing vocal style noone can comprehend, infused with homegrown technique and a tendency toward melodic songwriting like a European band.
The murky malevolence of this music is unchecked by a need for demonstration and instead it plows forward with unwrapping layers of texture which suggest more than a superstitious prediction of boundary, this music suggests a position of setting and a nihilistic journey of observation. Its values are not self-pity, nor are they purely anger, but a mixture of self-reflection and negativity in the context of imagination of change.
1. Requiem for a soul request
2. Ashes in the Rain
3. ...A red Sky
4. Evoked Doom
5. Tenbrous apparition
6. The spiritless one
7. Infinite Meditation of an uncertain existence
8. In the cosmic solitude
9. Repulsive odor of descomposition
10. Larvs of Subconscious
11. Repulsive Odor of Descomposition
Mixed into this form are European death metal influences in oddball melodics and precision drumming, with lead guitar aspirations toward a broken down but neoclassical thematism. Predominant doom influences are mixed in not as thrown-in ingredients but as integral contribution to a unique style: much as Sepultura defined Brazil on the metal map, Cenotaph have done so for Mexico by differentating sensibilities clearly. The shuddering roar that is their aesthetic comes from both the aggressive gore metal bands farther north and the rhythmic cannibals of the south declaring a self-destructive necrotic hopelessness.
Unsteady though this music sometimes is, its durable rhythm and ambitious structure makes its listening a sequence of realizations over multiple exposures. A narrative unfolds from a storyline that began with the simplest of continuities, holding space and shaping it in a mixture of traits to create atmosphere. Within that area of abstract logic, riffs through shape and direction change relativity to an objective comment in the subjective, reducing the complexity of existence to a single organic voice of chaos. For all of its technical and artistic power, what makes this music most enduring is its appeal to the listener and relentless creation toward a distinct, free spirit in underground metal.
Production: Cleanly arranged in thin but accurate sound.
Review: One of the first bands to catch on to the power of embedded melody in death metal was far from Sweden, and in Mexico these brave warriors erected a monument of metal majesty in the inventive wanderlust hymns in the style of melodic lead riffers At the Gates or Sentenced. Using the throbbing interaction of bass and guitar allows the subtleties of texture wrought from fast fingerwork to match expectations and a sense of space as learned structures expand.
1. The Solitudes
3. Grief to Obscuro
4. Macabre Locus Celesta
5. Among the Abrupt
6. Infinitum Valet
7. The Silence of Our Black Oceans
8. Soul Profundis
9. Ectasia Tenebrae
Keeping open spaces in their songs for turbulent variations on a harmony over spaced out drumming emphasizing an internal rhythm for the sake of keeping the crossbeat alive stabilizes dynamics. Guitar work is tasteful but fast and deliciously intricate at its height, interlacing riffs with melody and riding above internal harmonies to synthesize a larger tonal space for the piece to manipulate. Whether accepted for its sonority or rhythm, it is wise to remember the powerful role the latter plays and to notice how well applied that here is, with an organic yet highly structured patterning to the supportive lead riffing in the style of bands like Nocturnus or Rigor Mortis.
Working at a level far above most bands who appropriate this aesthetic, Cenotaph also position the dynamics of each piece intelligently in layers of change; the only band similar in this respect would be Sepultura or Slayer. While appearing unsteady, the combination of melodic lead playing and rigid, intricate rhythm gives a new face to the unique brand of death metal from this band. Deeply rhythmic and harmonically lush and wide, each of these songs is a classic in its freshness and development of what still is a high point in its genre.