Samskaras- "Lithification" Album Review

Greetings, woefully neglected Abyss reader! The fusion or cross-pollination of metal sub-genres in recent years has been a fascinating thing to see and hear unfold. Though purists often take exception with an established technical death metal band like Rivers of Nihil incorporating synths or clean vocals into their work; or a black metal band like Vvilderness opting to record music on, you know, something other than a potato, I have maintained that in a musical world where it's literally all been done before, experimentation and embracing disparate sounds is the only way to be truly innovative. That brings us to Montreal's Samskaras, and their second EP in as many years, Lithification, due out on Friday, October 26th. The ever rad folks over at Mind Eraser Promotions sent us an early copy of Lithification and unless you slept through the first paragraph of this review (you wouldn't be the first), it's anything but copy and paste technical death metal. The EP opens on 'Reconciliation' and one meaty hook of a riff. Like the other three tracks here, the audible assault that ensues bobs and weaves through complex, intertwined passages that do what all good technical death metal should: they take you somewhere you want to go. Along the way, Eric Burnet's vocals alternate between traditional growls, a vicious rasp and something akin to a rabid goblin reading from the Necromancer. I approve of this. Burnet's vocals, guitar and bass are anchored by Alexandre Dupras' expert time keeping. Again, in a world where it's all been done before, the tendency to overplay one's hand in an effort to stand out is always a concern. Not so here, as Dupras' skin smashing is right where you'd want it in the mix, and never where you wouldn't. The interplay between Burnet's bass and Dupras' drums is particularly striking on 'As Warriors', where there's a sense that their synchronization is intuitive. Whether at a full-speed assault or through a somber acoustic passage, this duo understands how to move a song forward and not lose the listener with useless wankery along the way. Complaints? With EPs it almost always comes down to length. The not-quite-clean-but-not-quite growl in the bridge of 'Alignment' was such a stark contrast in vocals that it made me wish it had been explored further in another track. Ditto the sparse melodic riffing and acoustic guitars that are so well executed and incorporated that I have no doubt that Burnet and Dupras could have easily assembled an LP's worth of dynamic ear candy for us. Given the frequency with which the duo is cranking out new tunes, let's hope that this is just a sample of what awaits us from Samskaras. What's next? Normally I'd tell you to double time your way over to Bandcamp and pre-order Lithification. However, Samskaras are radder (yes, that's my own word) than your average metal band and they want you to name your own price for their music. Unfortunately, Bandcamp does not allow pre-orders on NYP albums so you're going to have to hold off until the release date to place that order. What you can do in the meantime is check out Samskaras on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Eric Burnet has his own YouTube channel as well where you can hear 'Reconciliation' for yourself. Give Samskaras a spin and let us know what you think in the comments section. We're always up for a fireside metal chat. Rage on! JPR

#samskaras #lithification #minderaserpromotions

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