Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Expulsion (Swe) - Certain Corpses Never Decay


Tracklist:

1. Extreme Hypothermia
2. Whisper From The Abyss
3. Old Time Entombed
4. The Prophecy Of Doom
5. Cerebral Cessation (Part I)
6. Innominandum (Part II)
7. Darkside
8. Bastard Son Of God
9. Veiled In The Mists Of Mystery
10. Undersea (Part III)
11. Soul Upheaval
12. Lain Hidden
13. Certain Corpses Never Decay

I'm doing that random finger-in-the-air thing again, where I scour the Internet and find a band that's on my review list and write about them. This band just happens to share it's name with a new and notable US death metal band. This particular Expulsion though is a little bit older and a little bit more Swedish. In fact, this band is no longer. Expulsion formed in Vallentuna, Stockholm in 1988 (then known as River's Edge), releasing two demos, an EP, two full-lengths and a split before calling it a day in 1997. In 2014, renowned Dutch extreme metal label VIC Records released this compilation cd featuring the songs from their "Cerebral Cessation" demo, their "Veiled In The Mists Of Mystery" demo, an unreleased 7" single and their track from the "Hymns Of The Dead" compilation. Everything was restored and remastered for this release.


I’ve said before that I get a lot of excitement from listening to music by bands that (in most cases) are long gone or underrated. Swedish doom/death act Expulsion are one of those bands, having last released something of their own in 1996 (their second full-length “Man Against”). I also didn’t realise that the band featured ex-members of Treblinka and later Tiamat amongst others.This collection that was released in 2014 brings together demos and other rare songs and it’s a snapshot into the earlier sound of the band. Extreme Hypothermia is bizarrely up-beat and certainly more death than doom. The sound is very much of its time in terms of production and mastering, but that helps it stay true to it’s origins. It’s very bass-heavy, as evident on Whisper From The Abyss, with some thrash metal elements and extended instrumental passages breaking up the growled vocals. In a time when albums are afforded more sound wizardry, it’s refreshing to hear something that’s not lo-fi but genuinely enigmatic. The majority of songs get close to or surpass the five-minute mark, but as Old Time Entombed demonstrates, they blast along without you realising. The analogue tones just get better throughout this comp, with the lowly guitar on The Prophecy Of Doom sending shivers down the spine and the song’s subtle technicality bringing Expulsion’s musicality to the fore. On hearing the blasts at the start of Cerebral Cessation (Part I) you’d be forgiven for asking where the doom is! There isn’t a lot of it present, but then again it’s all about the atmosphere. The death metal is strong in this one. It’s no surprise then that Innominandum (Part II) is the most energetic song on here, though there’s a u-turn about two-minutes in when Expulsion makes use of a short and atmospheric doom passage to break up the instrumental. Darkside was featured on the “Swedish Death Metal” cd that accompanied Daniel Ekeroth’s book of the same name and it’s easy to hear why. It has a markedly different sound to that of the earlier songs on this comp, with more volume and punch from the instrumentation especially. The intensity of Bastard Son Of God is obvious right from the start and it’s clear that Expulsion still had an ear for catchy songs, even though they were extreme. It’s hard to believe that at this point you’re nearly two-thirds of the way through the record. Veiled In The Mists Of Mystery contains some great angular riffs alongside a lot of groove. The acoustic passage mid-way through is clever and shows a slightly more sensitive side to Expulsion’s song-writing. Their songs also seem to bare a similar theme musically, as the riffs at the beginning of Undersea (Part III) sound smilier to those appearing on earlier songs. That familiarity is good though, as is the added acoustic guitar that adds melody to the gloom. Soul Upheaval takes things back down a more lo-fi path and a more depressive one it has to be said. Penultimate song Lain Hidden contains some thicker riffs and a slower tempo in places. Once again it shows off their technicality well. The dirtiest song (sound wise) is left until the end here and it’s the title-track as well. This album is another one for the hardcore extreme metal fan but it does nothing but good things for the legacy of Expulsion. 

The compilation isn't streaming online but you can buy physical cd copies from VIC Records here - http://vicrecords.com/shop/

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