Review: Cenotaph – Riding Our Black Oceans

The band started in the mid-80s under the name Damned Cross. After recording a demo rehearsal “excretion of infected corpses” soon and like with most bands, line-up changes followed and they decide to adopt a new name that had more consistency with style and lyrics and this is how Cenotaph was born.

In 1989 they recorded the first demo “Rise of Excruciation” independently with dark and raw death metal, which helped them become known in the world market and quickly were considered a serious band on the metal scene.

By 1990 the band released their 7 “EP” Tenebrous Apparitions ” (two tracks) under Distorted Harmony Records and limited to one thousand copies.

This EP was sold out quickly, which was then re-released in 1992; the album is an example of death metal, and a combination of current and emerging European average American traditional but always bares the Cenotaph trademark!

Track-by-track Review

The Solitudes

Sounding very Mexican indeed! No getting away from it, not that that is a bad thing at all, but just making a note as the track begins with a very broken English voice, although it soon melts into a damming hearty hellacious roar!

Severance

The abrasive vocal extremities mix with a compelling thunderous lure of guitars that are sonically tenderised by a meat cleaver! The brawling imagination is quickly fired up with an insurgency of drum beatings.

Grief to Obscuro

Let the carnival continue be it on a hellish journey into the unknown. Relentless in its delivery and a strenuous stampede of up tempo raucous frenzy to follow, slowing briefly to catch its rampaging breath before continuing on to its final assault.

Macabre Locus Celesta

Poised and ready to pounce, with staggering melodic tones amid monstrous heavyweight vocal plundering, and has an attitude that holds more rhythmic malignancy.

Among the Abrupt

Prowls with a predatory guise its wraps itself greedily around the aural like bindweed and little time is wasted by the appearance of another vocal brawl, held together with a rabid bass hook and feisty riffs.

Infinitum Valet

Focussed on its tirade of bludgeoning beats and hellish vocal this track resonates evil in every sense of the word. Basking in a deep chasm of groove and wickedness that scintillates through-out its large structures.

The Silence of our Black Oceans

A rather ambient surrounding with softer guitar which is impressive and shows the bands more gentle approach and diversity. No vocal rampage here at the moment, just sombre strings that wash over the ears, that is of course until a hellish scream bursts in when you least expect it!

Soul Profundis

Back to seducing and whetting the appetite with its feisty onslaught of sickening blood thirsty vocal approach and underlying riveting adventures. It offers more than just a strenuous tenacity but gives the ears a good clean out in a whirling of robust beats.

Ectasia Tenebrae

Concluding this 9 track album is a total brooding frenzy capable of stomping all over the aural in a mesmeric array of grandeur and vicious vocal. The urgent sound of riffs twist and turn through a scintillating rapacious smashing of drum beats that are the driving force of the band’s almighty sound.

Cenotaph

This album is very technical and progressive through-out its malingering frenzy and vocal entourage, which sounds extremely urgent and engaging. It fires on all cylinders, possessing a certain ambiance and even has some black metal components contained with its steely structures.

Evil drips quickly from its pores offering intrigue and urgency. The guitars as I mentioned above contain a brutal technical flurry whilst the slow and more sombre track “The Silence of our Black Oceans” brings a dark ambient flavour to the mix and adds depth to an already deep chasm of blackness.

It has a chill factor about it that is deeply disturbing as the vocals are not harmonious but strained and forceful, that begs the listener to sit up and take notice.

It is not your typical death metal album, as the band have added in certain workings that breed discord and pure evil and wrapped it into an irresistible encounter with a harsh and toxic spike of malevolence!

It is rough, gruff, and mean and literally avenges its victims with a pure hate filled rampage! Listeners beware though this album doesn’t flow with melodic tendencies but with more of a harsh and brooding nature.

9½/10

Cenotaph ‘Riding our Black Oceans’ the 1994 reissue is out now via Chaos Records.

Track List:Cenotaph - Riding Our Black Oceans

The Solitudes
Severance
Grief to Obscuro
Macabre Locus Celesta
Among the Abrupt
Infinitum Valet
The Silence of our Black Oceans
Soul Profundis
Ectasia Tenebrae

About Pagan Hel

RAMzine Senior Writer - Although my fingers don't play frets they write with enthusiasm for metal!!!!!!

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