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Heptaedrone (2014)

There may be those of you out there in the world of metal that still harbour a fetish for cassettes. Y’know, those things you used to play in your Walkman and when batteries were low, to save energy you’d rewind / fast forward your tape with a pencil!

Anyway, the latest demo release from Khthoniik Cerviiks just happens to be issued on cassette only so you may want to snap this release up, especially if you’re into not just the sound of a hissing cassette but German black / death metal. Khthoniik Cerviiks formed in 2013, and Heptaedrone is already their third demo release.

Heptaedrone offers seven tracks with a total running time of around 43 minutes, so for a demo recording you are certainly getting your money’s worth here. So, after a brief instrumental entitled ‘Khthoniik Cerviiks Exhalement’ this bunch of extreme metallers pulverise our nervous system with the icy blizzard that is ‘The Grand Sidereal Swindle’.

Now, I didn’t really know what to expect from these guys as I’d not heard the previous two outings, but this is an engagingly sepulchral affair that isn’t your average blast of sickness you’d expect from some blackened death metal acts. Firstly, there are the unusual pattern shifts within the maniacal framework of this bestial cut.

At first the track is a coming together of horrendous percussive rashes and clanks mixed with some truly horrifying vocal burps, but hidden deep within the wiry mire is an eye-gouging set of spiky chords that dig deep into the skin and stay there until the festering begins. I’m almost inclined to state that this track harbours some technicality, because although it’s a guttural frenzy of each instrument it is a joy to behold due to its catchy nature through every transformation. There is definitely more of a lean toward black metal atmospherics but also a cavernous belch of death metal too as the band puts each instrument through their paces, with the result being an unhealthy hot-bed of speed, aggression and good ol’ fashioned evil.

The frothing nastiness continues with the six-minute belligerence of ‘Colliding Spheres Bend Solar Years’, almost suggesting an air of the progressive with its title complexity, but again it’s the same angular assault where devious twists are punctured by vicious corners of hostility. Above all, it’s the same catchiness and those echoing slurps and gargles of Okkhulus Siirs which make this recording so squalid amidst the avalanche of wayward, bestial drums.

Although ‘Colliding Spheres Bend Solar Years’ is initially just a tad slower than the previous track, it simply shows the variety this act has to offer as on a technical level the trio even assaults the senses with a few thrashy angles before resorting to dismal type with those deep, gouging riffs and dissonant bass-lines which tumble through the foggy haze.

The marrying of varying pace remains with ‘Elektriik Redeemer’, but the arrogance really becomes apparent when the band wraps things up with a brace of passages that in total clock in for a total of 17 minutes combined. First up is the miserable cacophony ‘Black Hole Neurotransmission’ which emerges from the crack in some remote void, only to leave its black trail of slime before slipping back into the ether. The track lumbers in with a catchy, doom-laden sort of rusty plod accompanied by that abrasive riffage and further astral meandering consisting of peculiar guitar twiddles, spasmodic drum blasts and gusty vocal gnashing.

And with the closing ‘Moraines Of Molten Light (Khtoniik Cerviiks Inhalement)’ upon us like the plague, I’m left repulsed yet endeared by this scathing brand of deathly black metal which for all of its frothing fragmentation is an demo I can heartily recommend to anyone with a penchant for slightly unusual extreme metal.

For those of you interested, the Heptaedrone demo is available via Iron Bonehead Productions here.

Neil Arnold

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