Do you ever do that thing where you suddenly think “hey, whatever happened to (insert band name here)? They were really good!”. Well, if you were wondering to Belfast death metal crushers Rex Shachath, they’re back to set your mind at ease, armed with a new EP to boot.
The band, who formed in late 2011 and released EP Sepulchral Torment in 2013, have been laying low for almost a year now, dealing with lineup issues (drummer Jay Rogers left in late 2014; his stool is still vacant) and waiting for their new record label Great Dane Records to schedule a release date for this new EP – which was recorded quite awhile ago, it turns out. Read our interview with guitarist Andrew Pennington, where he talks about all of this and more here for more information.
Their latest EP, Revocation of the Blood Elect, is an altogether heftier offering than Sepulchral… according to the band, who promise a mix of old and new school death metal as well as better production.
What does all that amount to? If opening track ‘Atonement Through Atrocity’ is anything to go by, it means a deeper, sharper sound, still with little in the way of melody but with increased crushing riffs and piledriving drums. It’s less of a blur of sound, with every member sounding more in focus and the guitarists getting more of a chance to shine. It also has some belligerent and furious vocals. A great start!
Track two, ‘Impious Axiom’ is, if the title is anything to go by, about the rejection of and disdain towards religious power. It’s all wrapped up in a battering beat that pounds your ears and a pace that picks up towards the end, demanding your even fuller attention. With its frenetic solo and powerful finish, it’s quite the package indeed.
The title track (and lead single) is next, and it’s the highlight of this quality EP. Its pounding intro and furiously deep vocals slam into your chest and briskly rearrange your internal organs, whilst the song itself has a deeply menacing and thickly atmospheric feel, with several breathless chugging time changes.
Guest vocalist Ben McCrow (The Rotted, Extreme Noise Terror) appears on ‘Within the Temple of Disgust’, with his less deep voice giving the vocals an added dimension. The combination of his and Rex vocalist Dave Connolly’s voice creates a great contrast, along with some top notch bass playing here, both of which lend the song texture and richness.
Final track ‘Colossus Rise’ offers the listener the best mix of old and new school death metal on the EP, with its drummy intro, wailing guitar solo and occasional glimpse of melody. The lyrics, which speak of the destruction of the global environment for financial gain, are intelligent, passionate and despairing, and the long fadeout at the end of the song really adds to that sense of despondency. It’s a forceful ending to the EP.
With Revocation… Rex Shachath have created an EP that is powerful, vehement and perceptive. They have honed their craft well between releases and, once a drummer is in place, will no doubt blow the bloody doors off any venue they choose to play in. The future of death metal in Northern Ireland (and further afield, with luck) is in safe hands with Rex Shachath. Just in case you were wondering.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ Revocation of the Blood Elect▶
◀ SOUNDS LIKE ⁞ Behemoth | Overoth ▶