Into Never Shall
Review by Carl on April 9, 2022.
For now, there seems to be no signs of slowing down the old school death metal train. These last few years have seen good releases by bands like Daemoniac, Skelethal and Belgium's Schizophrenia, to name just a (very) select few. All very enjoyable releases that bring nothing new to the table, but certainly did not disappoint this nostalgic death metal fanatic. Something that can be said about the first full length of Canadian outfit Expunged as well!
After an atmospheric intro, the feast of recognition begins, because this sounds like my neighbors arguing or my boss nagging: very familiar. The first bands that come to mind are the usual suspects of Dismember and early Entombed, but Grave and Fleshcrawl aren't far off in the distance, because this is Swedish death metal galore (but from Canada). This comes courtesy of that well-known buzzsaw guitar tone that we all know, love and worship, and it's this sound that keeps together a sturdy collection of simple yet catchy death metal songs. There is plenty of variation in between the tracks to distinguish them from each other, without losing coherence or drive. The band mix their more traditional faster (polka beat) parts with slower sections, but aren't afraid to throw in some d-beat or go for full-on grindcore frenzy (Repulsion style) either, thus creating a total picture that stays interesting throughout. A picture that is completed by excellent musicianship and a loud and clear production, that sounds powerful without sacrificing the old school spirit of the music, so well done on that one too!
Another thing well worth mentioning is that the music has this crust edge to it. Not only in the d-beat parts that pop up here and there, but also in the vocals and the lyrics. The vocalist has the kind of gruff delivery you'd expect from a band that deals in Swedeath influenced metal, but he has me thinking of Dean Jones of Extreme Noise Terror/Disgust quite a lot too, with a tad of Scott from Repulsion thrown in. The crust influence really comes to the fore in the lyrics that tackle subject matter such as war and the failings of society, the kind you'd find on albums by the likes of Amebix, Disrupt or Disfear. These bleak topics match the music without flaw, and help round out the old school feel of this shiny little platter without fail.
This is a great old school death metal release that may not bring anything new to the masses but let me assure you that there are far more inferior releases in this over-saturated scene, and Expunged's first full is well worth the effort, as well as your time and money.
Rating: 8 out of 10502
Review by Alex on July 28, 2021.
Following the slow eerie decomposition of your body following the intro Expunged beat the life into your inanimate shell with death/thrash metal from the boiling pot of the mid 90. That to me spells out hell of a good time. Lots of riffs, rugged and raw vocals and some melody to thicken the dynamic texture of their latest attack Into Never Shall. Take some of the things you love about old school thrash/death, speed metal and Swedish death metal and toss them into a blender; hence, what you get is a jubilant death metal crossfire.
It's hard to ignore metal this good especially when you realize how bad mainstream metal and how much you miss the honesty and candidness of the 80s and 90s. Being their first full-length album, Expunged have done themselves well here to bring something memorable and prized. Having erupted from Canada that has always had a sharp eye for metal, Expunged ensure that they keep in line with the Canadian tradition of quality noise that's evident on 'Gas Attack', 'Torn Apart' and 'Architects of Oblivion'. These songs help the album's mobility but more-so, provides the listener with an adequate assortment of riffs, chords and melodies poised to have you rocking till you get a neck spasm.
There's quite a bit of a sonic exchange occurring in all songs on Into Never Shall; black metal tremolo picking could be heard on eg 'Amidst the Embers' which aligned well with the speeding frenzy of the drumming fro the most part but still has enough going on maintain an overall death metal tag, thus shining a light on the proficiency of Expunged compositions. Musically the band fairs well to meld multiple genres without over saturating the initial genre intent of Into Never Shall. The title track is a good example of this whereby you'd be able to detect the under lying currents of Swedish death metal melodicism conspiring with black metal tremolo riffs and traditional death metal aesthetics. Doubled with the production that comes across as being organic with a few touches of polish around the edges, tracks such as 'Mass Grave' and aforementioned 'Architects of Oblivion' benefit especially in their transitioning sections to more rhythmic mid paced or doom metal sections in turn giving the album a well rounded and organized feel.
With the ogre-esque grunts of front-man J.S combined with the electrifying riffing of W.D and the drumming of session musician rightfully initialed A.K, you will never want to return from Into Never Shall once you're there.
Rating: 8 out of 10502