Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: Cambion - Unfold Chaos Supreme

Every once in a while we, as a community, need to stop and consider the avenues of music opened up by visionary Pete Helmkamp. It's true that Order From Chaos took many cues from Blasphemy, Sarcofago, Beherit, Incantation, and Archgoat. Considering the lack of peers purveying that brand of blasphemic death metal in the early to mid 90's, it's unavoidable. But Helmkamp streamlined the sound entirely, and repurposed it. 

After Order From Chaos, we were gifted with raging death metal the likes of Krisiun, whose Black Force Domain, and Rebaelliun, whose Burn the Promised Land, are undisputed fucking classics of the genre. Ultimately, though, we have Helmkamp to thank for the first two Angelcorpse LP's which took Order From Chaos's streamlined occult obsessed raging death metal and forcibly shoved it up several notches. His post OFC band in part specifically responsible for the rise of Conqueror and Revenge and the coinage of the hyper aggressive war metal that's currently all the rage. Without Helmkamp we'd have no Proclamation, no Teitanblood, no Katharsis, no Ignivomous, likely no Revenge... at least not in any recognizable incarnation.

What does any of that have to do with Cambion's 2015 titan of a demo, Unfold Chaos Supreme? Well, plenty if you take the time to listen. Their Bandcamp page specifically cites Angelcorpse and Krisiun as primary influences, along with the likes of early Hate Eternal and it's easy to see why. The influence is undeniable and the demo is an unrelenting blitz of spazzed out black/death ultraviolence played ferociously from the hip, catchy and vitriolic, anthemic and violently atmospheric.

Assuming you're not familiar, Cambion is an international project hailing from El Paso, Texas and Germany, parts unknown to me. This is their first offering, and if the polish this demo has received is any indicator, they are poised to truly decimate with some label backing behind them. These five tracks RAGE, a blistering cacophony of tightly executed thrashy black/death that goes directly for the throat like a frenzied, rabid wolf eager for the kill. Composition is exceptional, and while the songs speed by in a frantic gasp they prove memorable and infectious whilst still managing to exude blackened misanthropy. 

The guitar work is a frenetic mix of ear shredding rhythm and razor sharp riffing. There's no slow down here, from the onset the playing displays a technical lethality that picks it's way viciously to the demo's end. The soloing hearkens back to the aforementioned influences of Angelcorpse, Krisiun, Rebaelliun, and especially early era Slayer, but executed with an ear for melodicism. It's not just shredding for the sake of shredding, as they are extremely complimentary to the main body of the tracks and help whisk it from track to track.

The rhythm section is fantastic, as well. The bass lines are rich and resonate deeply at the bottom end here. There is a fullness present that would be sorely missed were the bass parts neglected or tacked on as an afterthought. In tandem with the bass is the drum work which proves just as formidable. Though I suspect programmed, the drum-lines here are crucial to the song structures and the continuity that works to transport the listener from start to end. Its pummeling battery of precision hits and hyper-blasts resonate well after the demo has ended.

All of this is delivered with a hypnotic sincerity and energetic fervor that it's impossible to deny this demo as a high point of the year so far. A fervent war cry of polished bestial black/death that pays homage and at the same time stands distinctly, and supremely, on its own merits. Cambion's influences are worn fully on their sleeves, but it's an obvious reverence rather than derivative aping. Insanely focused, razor sharp with ferociously melodic undertones, I expect great things are in their future. As it is, they are currently in the process of pressing the demo to CD in cooperation with Lavadome Productions out of the Czech Republic, hopefully as soon as late April. In the meantime, this gets my highest recommendation. Rarely am I quick to buy anything digital, but these guys are more than worthy of all the support they can get from the metal underground.

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