Consumed by Elder Sign
Abysmal Sounds, 2014
Can anybody guess what’s the worst nightmare of a music reviewer, or a reviewer of any kind? No, it’s not a product that makes the critic rip out their hair because it’s so unforgivably bad or makes them think “what was the reason I ever decided to waste my time and energy on this reeking pile of horse feces that’s somehow called art by some people”. The most atrocious and frustrating thing is to give birth to an article based on a screw-up so tedious and tasteless that every single word and phrase in the text requires immeasurable effort, leaving you feeling totally consumed once it’s finally done. When you’ve been sitting on your computer for several hours, there’s not a single word that could give a good start for the review, and you’re feeling like the dullness is going to mummify you. When you’re thinking that maybe a staring contest with a potato would be much more rewarding. Yeah, that’s a reviewer’s worst nightmare.
And that’s how we get to Consumed by Elder Sign, the debut album of Innsmouth from Australia, presenting old-school black/death metal made by a trio of musicians who’ve been working for an honorable amount of time in the local scene. The music itself builds impressions of many other acts that have sailed on the same musical waters years ago – for example, the US Goatlord, Runemagick, and Amorphis during their death metal years. However, as a major difference to the aforementioned, which have managed to create and develop momentous and wonderful pieces of aural art, Innsmouth is just a bland copy, a mere shadow compared to those Great Old Ones. Not that the mainly mid-tempo music of these Aussies would be awful or anything, it’s just ultimately boring; nothing really happens in any of the songs. They don’t give you vibes or feelings, neither good nor bad. This album drowns in the pool of worthlessness, as you find yourself yawning and eventually falling asleep in utter monotony.
While the compositions themselves are really standardized and mediocre extreme metal, so is the sound on Consumed by Elder Sign. Again, it’s not poor or incompetent: it’s one hundred percent what the listener would expect to hear on a black/death metal album – unpolished, stale and kind of unoriginal, as there’s thirteen groups in a dozen with exactly the same production. The presence of the bass guitar is almost nonexistent, and all you can hear of the drums is mostly the bass drum and the snare. And when you get very lucky, you might be able to hear an accent cymbal being hit. The only adequate fact to point out about the guitar is that it makes the same droning sound as on every other old-school death metal album. The vocals are dry, one-dimensional, slightly echoed black metal shrieking and groaning throughout.
For the first couple of times when I was listening through the album, there was a thought in my mind that this could become a favorite, and with more spins, have a lot to offer. After the thought that this recording could be exceptional and it could have more to offer had lingered around for about ten more listens, the realization came: Innsmouth has really got nothing. There’s not much more to say about this topic. There are surely lots of underground warriors who will think that Consumed by Elder Sign is a great album with an untrendy no-bullshit attitude, and the writer of this review is just a poser. Perhaps that’s true, but you need to have something more to convince me.
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