Death metal has many, many schools. There are literally dozens of sub-genres. So, to get at the roots of the genre, there are a few distinct sounds of the old school. We will call them the foundational sounds. Sadly, the originators of death metal are hardly as well known as some of the more depressingly nu-metal and metalcore sounding bands of the last fifteen years. Thankfully, bands like Chthe’ilist are seeking to change that by reinvigorating early sounds of death metal with all the fervor of the bands that started it. Fans of Demilich, Adramelech, Convulse, Demigod and Abhorrence (in that order) will be ecstatic over their debut LP Le Dernier Crépuscule.
Chthe’ilist (totally not annoying to type) are one of the more hyped bands on the planet when you consider that to date they have only put out a four-song demo. That demo, entitled Amechth’ntaas’m’rriachth (also not annoying to type) has been an underground sensation since it’s release in 2012. So the fact that it took four full years to put out an album, when three of the seven tracks are re-recorded, re-worked versions of songs off the demo, is a somber and sorrowful affair. The re-recorded songs are, without exception, longer on the LP than they are on the demo due to extended soloing and added atmosphere. The tracks are also recorded in a much more full, and less raw, way. This has it’s positives and negatives. It’s with no laughter or sarcasm that I say Le Dernier Crépuscule will have an easy time contending for my album of the year in this still young 2016.
The chain from Chthe’ilist to Demilich is not be near as long as the chain around the neck of a junkyard dog. So there may be plenty of people that write them off as a modern day copy of something that was original in the early ’90’s. Chthe’ilist is, however, not exactly a technical death metal outfit. They are more straight ahead death metal with elements of many sub-genres reflecting the aforementioned influences listed in the opening paragraph. And on Le Dernier Crépuscule the band has added some chanting, church-like vocals as well as some cleaner, absolutely ripping solos. There are succinct, technical aspects to the guitar playing that are counterbalanced by more open, ambient sections. The album is dark, corrosive and, at times, epically filthy.
And the bass tone. I feel like the new thing in death metal is to have an overtly clean, and loudly mixed, bass tone. Chthe’ilist join in the ranks of bands that successfully employ clean, and even slapping, bass. So while Le Dernier Crépuscule can employ swirling chaos with guitars leading the way, there are tracks, or more accurately aspects and parts, that are accented and highlighted by expertly thwacked, treble-heavy bass. And before you jump to the conclusion that this is a bad thing I assume you it is not. It’s a beautiful, wonderful choice.
So, it’s with ease similar to slipping the peel off an overripe banana that I implore you to check out Le Dernier Crépuscule. Put it on heavy rotation and fall in love with it. The last three years have seen advancements, alterations and growth to death metal that have book-ended a sort of fifteen year dead period in the genre. We are now living in a revival of the old school days of brilliant death metal. Pay the music what it deserves and treat it like your religion. The world is counting on you.