Album Review: Eximperitus — “Šahrartu”

They might not be household names yet, because holy hell what a name, but Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum, better known as Eximperitus, have certainly made a name for themselves in the death metal scene, both from their cutting-edge technicality as well as their buck-wild aesthetic choices.  On their newest release, Šahrartu, the band seeks to take everything that they have built their brand on and turn it up to eleven, while deepening the mystery and enigma surrounding them and the world they are building up.  Oh yeah, and maybe change the face of death metal while they’re at it.

Esoteric in the truest sense of the word, Eximperitus have built for themselves a name that literally and figuratively exemplifies their fascination with the occult and Ancient Eastern mythologies and religions.  The 51-letter full name of the band is a blend of Latin, Ancient Egyptian, Sumerian and Akkadian terms, creating a magic spell that reveals “the unutterable name of the antiuniverse.”  If at any point you get the idea that these fellows are playing around, get rid of that thought.  As if the name wasn’t enough, the band, who hail from Minsk, write all their lyrics and song titles in archaic Belarusian, because of course why wouldn’t you if you had the ability to?  Šahrartu builds off of where their critically acclaimed debut Projecting the Singular Emission of the Doctrine of Absolute and All-Absorbing Evil… left off, creating a world and concept of occult magic, ancient evils and killer riffs.  Eximperitus’ brand of technical death metal feels like it has more in common with old school acts like Nile or Necrophagist than any of the super flashy bands you would expect to hear with the “tech-death” label.  Not that the band doesn’t do anything forward-thinking or genre-pushing, but there is a strong connection to a good solid riff, and that always makes me get old-school vibes.  Not to mention all the Eastern scales and melodies that the band employs.  The end result is something technical without being too “techy”, and something truly unique as far as death metal goes.

Šahrartu is an album that is steeped pretty heavily in a deep, rich atmosphere of occult mysticism, but the concept is executed absolutely masterfully.  These songs are dense, but not frantic, and the main focus at the end of the day is always the riff.  Each song is categorized by sprawling, creeping pulses that never seem to quite go in the direction you think they will.  Where some bands choose to impress with speed and flash, Eximperitus build on the element of surprise.  Their masterful blend of Eastern scales with good old-fashioned outside-the-box thinking frequently left me grinning when they would do something I did not expect.  Lead single “Utpāda” perfectly exemplifies this, with an insanely catchy and groovy opening riff that blends into an almost sludgy crawl, before taking a complete 180 and finishing with something akin to atmospheric chording.  “Inqirad” opens with an extended Eastern themed guitar solo before blasting off into a slow and wild trudge through the dense void.  Each song is an exercise in brutality, in both a physical and mental sense.  The riffs are killer and will definitely break your neck, but there’s something sinister lurking beneath the surface that will pull at the edges of your mind long after the record stops playing.

I, along with others on this site, have been feeling a little bit of a slow start to 2021.  Maybe there really is still so much from last year that I’m still breaking into, but this is the first album of the year that really made me turn my head and take notice.  It should do the same for you.  There really isn’t a lot of death metal out there like Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum, but you might have been able to guess that already.  All the same, Šahrartu is a stellar album that is starting the year off on the right foot.

Ian


Šahrartu will be available January 29 on Willowtip Records.  For more information about Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum, visit their Facebook page.

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