20 Buck Spin presents the sophomore release “Deconsecrate” of Portland’s Oregon-based death metal quartet ÆNIGMATUM. The Swedish Gothenburg trademark sound being as influential for the melodeath scene as it was, the eight tracks demonstrate this style in a way that it still makes the band quite unique in the scene. Musically, the sophomore release integrates notable diversity and flawless songwriting with passionate melodies and furious drum transitions. Formed in 2017, ÆNIGMATUM released its self-titled debut album in 2019 and through the complexity and intricacy of their music they stand out clearly in a quite saturated music genre. The strength of the songs lay in its labyrinthine melodies, solos and incendiary guitar riffs.
When hearing the opening track “Forged From Bedlam”, one could think that he has stumbled upon some forgotten gem of the nineties progressive death metal scene. However, the music on the sophomore release is mainly aggressive and fast, laden with riffs. Through all of this, the guitar department showcases adequate technicality. While the overall tone isn’t really too modern, “Deconsecrate” abides by the canons of the technical style of early The Chasm with early albums like “Deathcult for Eternity” and At the Gates second album “Unquestionable Presence”. The balanced approach to melodies and the high quality of riffs and bass offers many hooks in following track “Undaunted Hereafter”. “Deconsecrate” is a kind of album that will make you remember the good old days from the early nineties when there were abundant bands that played progressive technical death metal.
The vocal performance is nothing short of amazing and fits perfectly with the whole style. Although the songs sound intricate, they’re accessible and littered with beautifully catchy harmonies. “Disenthralled” is another stunning track where the pace is seemingly poised to mid-tempo. This somehow provides room for the instrumentation to shine and the refined level of solos stimulates the style of the Swedish bands. You will also notice the band combining aggression with the ferocious pace of the drums and the monumental guitar lines. ÆNIGMATUM gives an intense performance on their sophomore release. Track after track, the quartet unravels the twisted threads of the entangled riffs, while the melodies ooze there is yet plenty of diversity in the duration of forty-five minutes. “Fracturing Proclivity” divulges the faculty of guitars refinement, to a certain extent the melodies are memorable.
“Floods within a Splintered Cortex” is a very dark and dramatic interlude composed on acoustic guitar, and the combination of atmospheric keyboards shows the creative side of the band. As mentioned, the band provides enough diversity among the songs, though the second half of the album seems to fail to maintain the furious direction that appeared previously. “Larker, Sanguine Phantom” is more of a mid-tempo track and it’s the weakest song on the album. ÆNIGMATUM has a unique way of mixing melodies and catchy rhythms with the traditional flair of Gothenburg sound, even though their style isn’t really conventional for the contemporary sound.
“Despot of Amorphic Dominions” has plenty of catchy guitar melodies that embody the serpentine and complex riffs of early Dark Tranquility. There is a grand level of classy performance in the guitar department, and the drumming performance that bursts with speed. The melodic sections are always brought by such creativity and shrewdness and evolves into a mystifying technicality. As one would expect from the thick textures of the sweeping harmonies the guitars vary from simple riff to notable rhythm. The final track “Animus Reflection” is clearly slower than the rest of the songs but hits the emotional peaks whilst the drums elaborate the sudden shifts in the paces ÆNIGMATUM sums up its musical style. Finally, I would say that the sophomore release of the Portland, Oregon-based quartet is dedicated to fans of the Swedish melodic/technical style of death metal.
Release Date: August 13th, 2021
Label: 20 Buck Spin
- Forged from Bedlam
- Undaunted Hereafter
- Fracturing Proclivity
- Floods Within a Splintered Cortex
- Larker, Saunguine Phantom
- Despot of Amorphic Dominions
- Animus Reflection