Dark Abstraction

They can see clearly now

dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: July 17th, 2015
Label: Hellthrasher

On their sophomore release, Ectovoid’s smart take on death metal capitalizes on those characteristics of Teitanblood-meets-Tampa that helped make their 2012 debut more than just another Suffocation-aping addition to the glut. With Dark Abstraction, the trio makes no attempt to sound like anything other than a straightforward death metal band whose influences play a subtle role, as opposed to acting as a safety net for listener familiarity.

The eight tracks here are executed with unrelenting precision that doesn’t sacrifice bestial instinct in the name of technical prowess. Make no mistake: these guys are enormously talented; but as any death metal fan knows, talent is a useless weapon without the reflexes to use the damn thing. It’s that sort of “fork in the road” separating the death metal wheat from the chaff where Ectovoid draw a devastatingly clear line where they stand.

Drummer Chris McDonald is as given to offering a double-bass battering ram as he is spacing the rhythm to unsettling and unpredictable effect. Vocalist Ground Chuck’s goofy moniker is deceptively so once the music roars to the forefront to meet his abyss-dwelling stylizations. Tracks like opener “Obscure Altars” and “Rituals of Hallucination” are a highlight of guitarist Michael Stew’s dexterity and willingness to upend the typical “shred ’til it’s dead” approach. For all that Ectovoid offer in keeping their familiarity at arm’s length, they’re also clever enough to let those roots show, resulting in one of this year’s most outstanding death metal sleeper releases.

—Jonathan K. Dick
Review originally printed in the October 2015 issue (#132).