Severed Monolith

On the chopping block
dB rating: 8/10

Release Date: March 3, 2017
Label: Dark Descent

If you’re reading this, you can take it as definitive proof of an afterlife. I’ve been bludgeoned to death by a monstrous slab of Finnish death metal in the form of Gorephilia’s second full-length album, Severed Monolith. This album will pulverize you into oblivion, reassemble your pieces during the instrumental interludes and then annihilate you all over again.

Hailing from Finland, guitarist Jukka Aho (also in Krypts, a fellow Dark Descent Records band) and Co. take their cues from old-school stateside bands: Think Morbid Angel’s wild solos and relentless riffing or Sadistic Intent minus their more obvious black metal leanings.

This is death metal in its purity: throat-straining, regurgitated vocals, whiplash drumming, riffs like a Panzer tank and song titles such as “Hellfire,” “Black Horns” and “The Ravenous Storm.”

And let’s not forget the production. It’s not sludge, but “stagnant pond” wouldn’t be far off the mark. This is Finnish death metal, after all; one shouldn’t expect a clean, precise punch. The only drawback to this approach is that the songs don’t really stand out from each other. That said, when you’re giving your ears the aural equivalent of a “Doc Marten Dental Plan,” it’s not a huge concern.

Still, the band is capable of surprises—well, one, at least. Album closer “Untitled” (does that mean it doesn’t have a title or that “Untitled” is its title?) is one of the aforementioned instrumental pieces, and it wouldn’t be out of place on an atmospheric goth album. Yes, that is a piano, evoking a sense of loss. After being annihilated by this album, I’m going to give this final track my own title: Ode to Lost Eardrums.

— James Basile

This review taken from the May 2017 issue. Severed Monolith is available on CD from Dark Descent.

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