Finnish beasts Sepulchral Curse blacken their death metal with fiery ‘At the Onset of Extinction’

Photo by Kakkonen Mustavalko

Photo by Kakkonen Mustavalko

The status of Finnish metal is pretty damn solid, and you don’t need a dork like me to tell you that. From Demilich to Abhorrence to Convulse to Amorphis, that land has done the genre quite well, and really, there’d be no argument if the folks from that country took it easy for a while and enjoyed their country’s well-earned success.

Yet, the well never stops flooding over, and now we have a new death unit Sepulchral Curse raiding the land and spreading their gurgling chaos all over. It’s always a shame when these releases drop so late in the year, because they tend to get lost in the sea, but their new EP “At the Onset of Extinction” is a crusher, and it’s bound to satisfy any fan of Finnish metal … or metal in general. The band only has been active for the past three years, and we’re getting a follow-up to their 2014 “A Birth in Death” two weeks before this cursed year gasps its last. The band—Kari Kankaanpää (vocals) Jaakko Riihimäki and Aleksi Luukka (guitars), Niilas Nissilä (bass), Tommi Ilmanen (drums/vocals)—also adds flourishes of black and doom metal and sounds ferocious and violently aggressive on these four songs.

sepulchral-curse-cover“Envisioned in Scars” gets the collection off to a brutal start, with all elements boiling with a fury and Kankaanpää’s gurgling growls unleashing blood and tar. Actually, as strong as the growls are, they tend to overpower the music at times, though it’s a minor issue. Melodies are pressed beneath the din, while wild blasts rip out, the riffs chug, and the track comes to an abrupt finish. “In Purifying Essence” is speedy at the front end, with the bass bouncing around, and the growls are chased with crazed howls. Classic-style death guitars take over, as the band hits a massive groove, and a destructive spiral brings outright obliteration.

“Gospel of Bones” is built on strong riffs and a tempo that absolutely reeks of doom. The song bursts out of its seams, as fierce shouts and a stomping assault start accumulating a body count. The playing grinds and burns, spiraling into vile pools. Closer “Disrupting Lights of Extinction” is beefy at 9:46, and it slowly comes to life, bringing heaviness but delivering it in a calculated manner. Doom clouds return as the cut gets going, and a few minutes into the humidity, the band unleashes it power. The riffs are muddy and ugly, while the growls are gruesome, and as the song gets dizzying and disorienting, Kankaanpää wails over the madness. The music keeps lapping over and over, continuing to deliver massive body blows, while the final minutes slip into cold gloom, bringing the track to a pounding finish.

Sepulchral Curse are proving blood still flows in the land of the thousand lakes, and their “At the Onset of Extinction” EP shows the band more willing than ever to go for the guts. But there’s a technicality and artistry to what they do as well, so it’s not just violence for violence sake. They’ve spent the past few years trying to find the right sound to convey their blackness, so let’s see what they can do with a full-length release.

For more on the band, go here:

To buy the album, go here:

For more on the label, go here: