Acephalix unleash doom-encrusted madness on convulsive ‘Deathless Master’

Instead of screwing around with some intro about some other thing that connects to the one thing I’ll discuss today, let’s instead get to the point. The new Acephalix will rip your neck right off your shoulders and cause your unaware skull to bounce and splatter on the floor. Period.

So we can end the review there, right? Sure, if you’d like. That about sums up everything you need to know about the San Francisco-based death/crust band’s sophomore album “Deathless Master.” It’s relentless and violent, maniacal and ferocious, and it’ll do serious bodily damage to you. I don’t mean that in a literal sense, you know? Some people bitch throughout the Internet that it’s stupid to say a record will physically harm you. Whatever, man. Start your own web site. As far as we’re concerned, this album will, indeed, kill you mentally. And maybe your family. And your neighbors. They’re probably assholes anyway.

Acephalix has been dropping the metallic lumber since forming in 2007. They pushed out some demo recordings, eventually delivered their first full-length “Aporia” in 2010, and then grabbed the attention of the masters over at Southern Lord, who released their 2011 demo “Interminable Night” as part of their underground series. Shortly afterward, Southern Lord officially signed the band to the label, and now we’re met with “Deathless Master,” an album that totally ups the ante. Oh, another thing that it does is carries over some of the filthy death metal 3/4 of these guys spill out in Vastum, whose debut was one of our Top 40 favorite records of last year. By the way, new Vastum album is on the works. Totally excited over here.

But Acephalix is our topic for now, and their sheer violent will makes them perfect stablemates for other volcanic Southern Lord acts such as Nails, the Secret,  and Black Breath. They don’t really share the same sound — they’re at least close to what Black Breath do — but when you put on this record, you’ll be overtaken by their force. They sound hungry, mean, and focused, and they also have steadily improved as a band from last full-length to this one. You even can hear the progress from “Interminable Night,” as this band steers closer and closer to a filthy death metal sound exclusively.

The Acephalix dudes — Dan on vocals, Kyle on guitar, Luca on bass, Dave Benson on drums — let the shit hit the fan immediately on “Bastard Self,” a burly, chugging slab of death that has a nice melody line tucked beneath all the madness. The title cut gets a little grindy and works in some Slayer-style guitar histrionics, and eventually some weird-o, monotone warbling slips into the fury. “Tomb of Our Fathers” ruptures with double-kick drum firing, lurching vocals, and some sharp guitar work that worship at the altar of Entombed; “On Wings…:” is doomy and punk-flavored, and it makes me chuckle a little because it sounds to me like they’re yelling “old witch!” over the chorus; “Blood of Desire” has machine-gun drumming and sludgy, muddy terrain; and lengthy (for them) closer “The Hunger” also is grounded largely in doom and gloom, though it does pack some serious punishment as well.

Acephalix continues Southern Lord’s effort to build a new level of great young bands on top of their foundation of groups such as Sunn 0))), Earth, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Pelican. This is one of their mightiest newcomers, and Acephalix should be keeping things interesting and convulsive for some time to come.

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