Craven Idol’s hellacious debut album ‘Towards Eschaton’ ignites death metal hellfire

craven idolThere are those days when you have water pouring through your kitchen ceiling like it’s Niagara Falls and you have to shell out $500 to fix the thing that makes having evil, infernal death metal at arm’s length such a wonderful thing. Not that it cures any of that or gets your money back, but it at least provides an outlet for your total, complete frustration.

So when this exact scenario happened to me this past week, on my day off no less, and as I spent almost the entire day dealing with what was going on, it made having Craven Idol’s debut full-length “Towards Eschaton” at my disposal that much more welcoming. See, part of my day during plumbing hell 2013 was going to be spent writing this review of the UK-based death metal band’s introductory long player, but because I was busy having my bank account butchered and unloading buckets of water into the yard, that didn’t exactly happen. But it also made me look differently at an album that already was having massive positive influence on me for how good it sounds, because it helped me deal with some frustration and anger, if only because it exactly mirrored what was going on in my head and the fury I would like to release productively.

craven idol coverCraven Idol, the hellish beasts they are, go by pseudonyms that are as awesome and dastardly as their heathen sound. Vrath (also of Coprofagi and Sepulchral Temple) is on guitars and vocals, and joining him are guitarist Scourger (also of Deceptor and Solstice), bassist Suspiral and, for the recording, veteran drummer Volgard (Dying Age, Scythian). The fury behind this band cannot be questioned, and they have such an explosiveness and evil intent that they should frighten not just unsuspecting people who are creeped out easily, but even other death metal bands. They’re that mean and massive, and even while being bruised, you’re also bound to have some fun listening to this amalgamation of classic thrash and death with a heavy dose of evil.

“To Summon Mayrion” welcomes you into this infernal world with eerie noise, liturgical-style chants that haunt to the core, and a chilling ambiance that all sets up before the track even kicks in fully. Then it’s right into a doom-infested assault, a chewy death groove, and fierce, crazed shrieks from Vrath that observes horrors “at the hour of death.” “Sworn Upon the Styx” is one of the shortest songs on the record, but it uses its mangling running time to unleash punishing blasts and fast, meaty guitar trauma. “Golgotha Wounds” begins with ominous thunder claps and relentless blast beats, sending up a cloud of suffocating smoke and chaos led by strong guitar lines and a pure sense of old school death metal that isn’t imitation but truly an example of work that makes that style’s original veins so toxic. “Craven Atonement” has a punk-fueled approach, as the song gallops and riffs sizzle over the top of the track. It’s a great example of the band’s insatiable hunger for madness and sounds downright soaked in blasphemy.

“Codex of Seven Dooms” might hint at a slow-driven, muddy experience, but it’s more fierce and furious than you might expect from the title. There are melodic, triumphant guitar melodies that surge throughout the track, and just when you think the song can’t possibly be more devastating, the thing erupts, and they manage to pour buckets of fuel on the raging fire. “Aura of Undeath” is stirring and blistering, giving another heaping helping of old-school death metal, while “Left to Die” changes things up a bit. There’s more atmosphere, and the outer space weirdness gives off hints of Voivod. It’s a really tricky but enthralling cut that’ll keep you wondering. Closer “Orgies” is, much like its title might hint, a huge release. The band plays loud and fast, showing off more of their punk tendencies, and the gut-filled, filthy track brings the perfect, soiled end to this album.

Craven Idol is another great find by Dark Descent, as they have a practical stranglehold on unearthing underground gems of pure damnation. “Towards Eschaton” is a fire-breathing introduction for this band to a larger audience, and they deliver a crusty, bloody, maniacal record that’s worthy of being mentioned alongside the best death metal platters of the year. These guys are onto something horrific and monstrous, and their first long player is a sign that a new band of warriors is here to reclaim death metal’s past and put to death the pretenders who have sullied the landscape the last decade or so. May they suffer.

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