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Sempiternal Dusk

Dark Descent (2014)
Rating: 8/10

This is the self-titled debut album from Portland, Oregon-based death metallers Sempiternal Dusk; a trio which go by the names TC vocals / drums), JH (guitar) and TG (bass). This five-track album comes two years after debut demo Demo MMXII, and one of the tracks from that demo (‘Moon Beneath Hook Cross’) appears on this new release.

So, Sempiternal Dusk emerged from the ashes of The Warwolves and are now eager to spread their seeds of malevolence through the extreme metal underground, and what better way to do it than through this monolithic chunk of doom-laden drudgery. With every track except the closing ‘Urn Of Dawn’ clocking in at over eight minutes, one thing is clear; these guys dabble in long, drawn-out dirges of destruction.

The opener, ‘Moon Beneath Hook Cross’, is a lazy plod with sample voice warbling behind a nodding drum and fuzzed-up trudge of guitar and bass. Over the course of centuries, the track builds to a mid-tempo bludgeon before introducing the deep, guttural vocal coughs. It’s not original, but it is music dredged from the lower chambers of some mould-infected abyss whereupon it exists as merely some deeply sepulchral gurgle of contempt.

Of course, with tracks as long as those on offer, some of you might expect just a hint of variation thrown in, and thankfully that comes as ‘Moon Beneath Hook Cross’ quickens its pace into the deathly throes of orgasm before its return to a bellowing plod. However, the sun is soon blocked out once again by the murky strains of ‘Streams Of Night’, an upbeat (!) gallop through quicksand featuring a festering bass and catchy rhythm plunder hastened by hurrying percussion, so the overall effect is of an abyssal death metal act toying with doomier structures and succeeding and squeezing the breath, blood and bones from its victims.

Coupled with occasional forays into brief experimentalism and interludes of starker contrasts, Sempiternal Dusk still does what you’d quickly come to expect, but I’ve no doubt you’ll welcome the rushing ooze of the 12-minute ‘Upon The Gallows At Perihelion’ which serves up a nice lump of old school death / doom, and then eventually makes way for an equally gargantuan offering in the form of ‘Seclusion Of The Bereaved’, which has the thunderous intention of a million orc hammers forging some unimaginable weapon of mass destruction.

In a sense crude and always cloying, Sempiternal Dusk’s debut vat of congealed silt is one that should clog the arteries and stir your primal instincts.

Neil Arnold

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