Belgium’s Epoch prove with a great and almighty fury that it doesn’t need to take an entire hour’s worth of blistering brutal death before you are barreled headfirst into the ground, bleeding in submission. Originally released independently on their Bandcamp in 2015, a physical version of the record is now available for distribution courtesy of Lavadome Productions. Obviously, the label thought it was a killer release that deserved a widespread distribution and I’d have to agree with them on that. The sort of brutal death metal that these guys (or guy – I can’t really tell from any of the information I have here) play mixes well within some firey tremolos and obscure progressive tinkerings. This mixture can give it an almost hypnotic effect, making one feel as if they’re being swallowed by a tornado of sorts. Noting that, we’re also getting a familiar machine-gun approach to the drumming but not in the sense that it contains consistent blasts, which I’m thankful for. The drummer actually seems to know what he’s doing behind the kit, and such a backbone only makes the hot winds of fuzz and death sound all the more interesting. The vocal approach on this one is absolutely frightening in some instances, not giving us the sound of a wimp behind the microphone, but an enraged and possibly deadly individual who knows how to sing right from the gut – literally. It almost feels as though he pulled his stomach out and allowed it to communicate it’s thoughts on the recording. As I stated earlier, there are moments when the tone of the record becomes a tad more technical than you might expect, which is the very reason why it should be hunted down at all costs. This is a level of technical death not unlike Wormed or even Demilich at times, and will no doubt astound you if you’re able to get your grimy mitts on a physical copy of it – which thanks to Lavadome, should now be possible. The amount of experimentation that has been tapped into the level of death metal that is on display for this one is almost legendary.
As for the future of the act, it is unclear. According to Metal Archives, the only current member of the act is R. Polon, who is also currently in the active bands Omega Centauri, Santcus Nex, Alarde Esperpénticoa and Heksenrijder among others. Needless to say, he still has several other projects to keep him busy, regardless of whether or not this act continues. Of course, the main problem with Epoch would be topping Sacrosanct. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s even possible. Without a doubt, Sacrosanct is one of the most groundbreaking death metal related experiences that I’ve heard from this genre in quite a while and that should mean something. I remember falling in love with it after the very first listen, and I’m sure that you will too. This is the more intelligent and unique side of death metal experimentism that we just don’t hear every day, especially in the deathcore and triggered-drum era. Definitely pick it up if you haven’t already, as it is definitely one of my top death metal releases of the year, and will stand as one of the best death metal releases of all-time for me.
(8 Tracks, 36:00)