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DROWNED
DROWNED
Idola Specus
(Sepulchral Voice Records)
37:24min

On July 25th a historical moment of German Death Metal history is about to take place: DROWNED, easily one of the elders of our scene, presents its first full-length to the masses. Formed back in ’92 the act led by sole original member Tlmnn has went down a long and winding road cobbled with demos and EPs yet never leading to the one great monument they always have been capable of, still for manifold reasons failed to achieve: an album - a concise, competently executed album summarizing their obvious qualities in creating gloomy Death Metal that despite honoring acts such as DARKTHRONE (1st album), DEMIGOD, GROTESQUE, INCANTATION had something truly unique and daring. Fronted by NECROS CHRISTOS mastermind Mors Dalos Ra, 2006’s “Viscera Terræ” was a climax, an EP as amazing and addictive as a killer album and a highlight, “Idola Specus” can not totally match up to. Featuring G.ST from ESSENZ on vocals, the recognition value the 2006 demo / EP had, has of course vanished, yet his performance comes pretty close in impact and vigor distracting me - as an absolute worshipper of “Viscera Terræ” - quickly from that change of personnel, so vocals: check, all fine! Drumming? All on par with the aforementioned latest sign of life (death), even a tad more furious and diverse. Riffs? Again, all in place and nicely shifting between doomier sections and an even more aggressive vibe compared to “Viscera…”. The verse riff of 'Cast Into Negative Form' especially marks a prime example for “top class riffage” due to its effective and memorable approach, turning the song into one of my faves on “Idola Specus”. 'Letzter Teilbarer Strahl' (stream it here) is another stunning track, but during the almost entirely instrumental 'Gnomon' it becomes evident what I personally consider the downside of this album. The whispers strewn across the 2006 demo / EP, the minimal keys of the band’s - so far - best song 'Abyssic Dead, They Sing For Me' are almost gone in sake for a straighter, harder, down-to-earth approach. 'Idola Specus' is a bit like DARKTHRONE’s immortal track 'Eon' minus that classic, eerie “Aha…Aha…” or older PARADISE LOST minus the lead melodies - which have been reduced on “Idola…”, too. An integral, atmospheric element is unfortunately less present here though the album is still ages, better aeons away from being weak or disappointing, but such minimal gimmicks might have made it even better or more captivating. DROWNED still know how to express what truthful Death Metal is about in not even 40 minutes compared to acts who stoically and uninspired rumble and stumble through their material. DROWNED are blessed with a warm and organic sound (the one I would strongly recommend to INCANTATION lately) allowing you to grasp and revel in details yet always retains a bone-crushing heaviness and intensity. Transparency and warmth is no contradiction in the end. DROWNED have composed an album that might expose a shortage on the atmospheric side yet fully lives up to the band’s recent trademark sound - despite a change of singers and that is already an achievement alone. Probably, I’ll be able to blag a copy of this album out of the dear people who provided me with this digital promo BUT I would not hesitate a second to buy this as it is another testimony for the strength and inspiration the current German extreme metal underground has to offer and MUST be supported. ALCHEMYST, THE RUINS OF BEVERAST, SULPHUR AEON, NECROS CHRISTOS, VENENUM, BEYOND, CHAPEL OF DISEASE, DROWNED - hell yeah, Germany can be proud of itself as it has a broad range of bands delivering unholy Death Metal far away from the international scene’s common stereotypes. DROWNED are no exception. All further info at: http://drowned.todeskult.de, www.facebook.com/drowned.death.metal, www.sepulchralvoice.de

Stefan Franke

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