Colombian death vets Nepente storm back with thunderous return EP ‘I Will Get Your Soul’

Nepente coverTearing the week open like a crusted-over wound probably isn’t everyone’s favorite choice to get going, but sometimes it’s just has be done. It’s going to hurt like hell for the first couple seconds, but once those bruised nerve endings cool down, you’ll be happy you did it. Now, let’s let that thing air out so it can start to heal.

I say all of this because we’re diving right into the face of brutality with Nepente’s vicious new EP “I Will Get Your Soul.” I like this thing for a number of reasons, but here are two that really stand out for me. First, these Colombian maulers go right for your throat with no attention paid to be clean and neat. Their mission is blood, and they will do what they can to draw it as soon as possible. The second isn’t all that consequential from a musical standpoint, but it’s the cover art. Yeah, it’s not the sleekest thing in the world, but that’s what I love about it. The thing reminds me of bands I’d hear locally on the nearby college radio station in the afternoon, because groups like that would have similar style covers and a brutal, pummeling sound that would scare off the mainstream kids. It makes me feel a little nostalgic.

As for Nepente, their sound is somewhere between death and black metal, played as punishingly and non-sanitized as possible, making their brutal assaults on your senses the most important thing. The band—vocalist Jose Fernando Ospina, guitarists Pablo Vasquez (who is the primary songwriter), Juan Pablo Buitrago, and Esteban Daza, bassist Wilmar Correa, and drummer Mauricio Aristizabal—have been at it for 12 years, releasing their first EP “Ascension” in 2005 and offering their debut full-length effort “Atonements” three years later. The band’s last release was 2012’s “Suffering Is the Seed,” and now this EP arrives to let you know the band is alive, well, and hungry, and that these four songs mark the road back for Nepente.

The record opens with the title cut, as acoustic strains arrive and echo in the background before the song is absolutely torn open. The pace is heavy and ridiculously fast, with the drums being beaten into dust and the vocals sounding like they’re delivered on the wings of the world’s worst sore throat. Behind all the muck is soaring melody, which is a recurring element that gives the EP more color, and they end this thing with strong soloing and gutty thrashing. “Show Me That You Are Suffering” is as maniacal and mashing as its title indicates, with melodic guitars blistering over top, outright savagery making up the lower end, and the vocals once again sounding throaty and mean. The back end is rather catchy actually, with the speed and thrash elements going for broke and the growling lurching like a wounded monster to the finish line.

“Gray Land” follows the same punishing path as the other two songs, ramping up the thrash components and unleashing crunchy bursts of fire. The vocals are fierce, with Ospina going back and forth from guttural growls to manic shrieks, while the rest of the band backs that up with misery-inducing mashing, more electrifying guitar work, and a strong, pulverizing closing that’ll have your blood racing right to the finish. Closer “Last Rites” is a pretty fun one, with the guitars whipping up a break-neck riff that powers this thing and the drums completely clubbing you. Melody again rears its end, adding new textures to this declaration of all-out war, and the vocals sound channeled and angry as hell, with Ospina in complete commands as he repeatedly howls, “Last rites!” The music simmers in spots, with fluid guitar work arriving and bringing mind-melting soloing, while the finish crashes and burns in the best possible way, leaving your whole body scraped and bleeding.

While it may be a holdover EP before Nepente drum up a new full-length, “I Will Get Your Soul” deserves your utmost respect and attention, especially if you like your metal seriously rough around the edges and delivered like lightning. This crew sounds like they’re mobilizing for something big, getting the troops lined up so they can unleash their weapons and massacre anything and anyone that stands in front of them. If you happen to be in their line of fire, you might want to find cover, because I doubt Nepente will be showing you or anyone an ounce of mercy.

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