Raleigh, NC tech-death newcomers Ergodic released their debut self-titled EP this week to much fanfare, and I’m super excited to be able to cover it. Unlike certain people on our staff, I’m not afraid of the technical side of death metal, but with no back catalog and not a lot of history to delve into, I can’t wax poetic about this one like I normally do with album reviews. So, I thought I would try something a little different and throw out my semi-unfiltered thoughts track by track, so you can get a good idea of what these lads are bringing.
“Exalted Ignorant(s)” – Holy shit, what a way to come out of the gate swinging. The opening pummel is hyper-melodic with a tinge of neoclassical shredding and humongous energy. Vocalist Zach Senicola drives the bus pretty hard on this one, showcasing the depths the human voice can reach while providing the way forward for the rest of the band to shine with furious riffing and unchecked aggression. There’s a lot of tasty soloing from guitarists Josh DelVendo and Joel Frazier, which compliment all the guttural, primal noise with some much-needed melody. Finishing with nauseating gravity blasts and borderline vocal fry, this is quite the opening statement.
“Veil of Dementia” – There’s a bass solo, there’s a bass solo, there’s a bass solo. I love bass solos. Goddamn I love bass solos, and there’s three of them basically back to back to back right at the beginning. I feel like I could just stop now, but there’s a lot to like here (but chiefly among these are the bass solos). The layered vocals help bring the nasty to the beginning of the song, and the riffing is thrashier this time around and less chaotic. It feels like a more focused piece, with a lot of dynamic parts constructed to play off each other as opposed to the free form nature of “Exalted Ignorant(s).” Did I mention there’s bass solos on this one? Thanks, bassist Matt Brocking.
“Lashed to Control” – This track, for my money, has my favorite guitar parts out of the three. The guitar solos are full-on Yngwie levels of neoclassical shredding, but there’s also more subtle layers of harmony and some crunchy riffs that slow things down from the blistering pace most the rest of the EP goes. I also can’t help but notice there’s another bass solo so this is officially the greatest debut EP by any band anywhere. Drummer Matt Francis showcases more than just furious blast beats here, and the way he can change tempo and feel on a dime is something to be admired. When the song closes with a big synchronized finish, I definitely found myself wanting more than just three tracks.
Sure, it doesn’t exactly break the tech-death mold, but there’s enough subtle variations on the theme to keep it interesting and feeling fresh. Hopefully a full-length in the very near future will be a little more diverse sounding and keep pushing the boundaries, but this will do for now. It’s a fast and fun listen, and if this is only a taste of what’s to come then color me very excited for the future of Ergodic.