It’s been a pretty great year for metal comebacks, from the glorious new record from the legendary Carcass to the bloody new platter from the reconfigured Broken Hope, who probably won’t go down in the annals as Glen Benton’s favorite band of all time. That actually could end up being a huge compliment in the end.
A little lower on the radar, thanks to an alarming lack of media hype, come Finnish death warriors Convulse, who were one of the ugliest, most potent underground death metal bands of the 1990s thanks to their classic 1991 debut full-length “World Without God” (righteously reissued by Relapse in 2010 with some bonus cuts) and their 1994 follow-up “Reflections.” They were one of the bands blazing a new, hellacious path for death metal’s future, keeping things grisly, heavy, and uncompromising, and because of that, they amassed a cult of fans that relished Convulse’s terrifying creations. But then, following “Reflections,” the band disappeared, never fully capitalizing on their momentum and slipping into the night.
Last year, Convulse started to move in their grave, and their mummified hand finally broke through the soil on January’s return EP “Inner Evil,” a two-track, 12-minute collection that showed not only could Convulse still be a vital force in the death metal world, but they had plenty to offer to a genre that’s been too undercut by beauty and slickly produced, mass-marketed bands. Vocalist/guitarist Ramsi Jämsä returned leading this machine, along with bassist Juha Telenius, and rounding out the modern lineup are new recruits Kristian Kangasniemi (guitars) and Rolle Markos (drums) who do their finest in upholding Convulse’s legend and leading them to their bloody future on their awesome new record “Evil Prevails,” that certainly holds up against their legendary back catalog.
The first track on this record is called “We Kill Our Kind,” which should give you clear sight as to where this record is going both sonically and philosophically, as the band explodes with punchy death metal, gruff, fiery growls, and an outright vicious campaign that gets this new record off on the right, decaying foot. “Unholy War” is raspy, speedy, and muddy, pushing their path toward thick mud and pain, and while the song takes some time to calm down toward the end, with a chilling monologue slipping behind it, it ends with a moody, prog-like sequence that sounds like Opeth at their headiest. “World Downfall” brings speed back into play and is a creaky monster looking for nothing but total destruction. It achieves just that, complete with some scintillating lead guitar work. “God Is Delusion” is a carryover cut from the aforementioned January EP, and it fits right in with its sweeping clean intro that melts into a drum demolition, mean and nasty growling that cares not about bruising feelings, and a doomy, chemically burnt song that could leave bubbling skin and nasty scarring.
The title cut opens the second half of this mauler with guttural intensity, fast and ugly thrashing, and more threatening vocals that sound coated in evil. Once again the guitar work shines, as the soloing hangs in the air like a toxic cloud. “Days Are Dark” brings back more doom sentiment, and there are times where the music even slips near black metal territory. The verses have a tasty touch where Jämsä howls over bass-and-drums-led verses before the full serving of guitars ignite, and the cut actually ends on a classical note, with acoustic guitars plucked and setting a hazy tone. “Reborn in Chaos,” a track that might as well be their 2013 anthem, gallops relentlessly and is one of the more pulverizing cuts among a whole slew of them, while closer “Oceans of Dust” starts with dizzying playing and forceful thrashing. Jämsä’s vocals are throatier and infernal, and the spirit with which this song is played in unquestionably punishing and hellbent on making the band’s mark a permanent one. The song ends in ominous noise, with a baby wailing in the night, almost as if it knows its fate is not a favorable one. It’s a chilling finish for what is a volcanic record.
We welcome back Convulse, a band that deserves to be hailed as one of death metal’s most important pioneers who surely had a hand in launching a ton of other like-minded bands influenced by their sound. “Evil Prevails” is a stunning, satisfying comeback record that hits all the right spots and should be included in the same breath as Carcass’ new one as an example of the old guard returning with violent intent to show the new bands how it’s truly done. Hopefully this return is a long-term thing, because it seems like Convulse have a lot left in their raging creative furnace to share with the death metal world.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Convulse
To buy the album, go here: http://www.svartrecords.com/shoppe/en/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.svartrecords.com/