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Album debut: Ævangelist – Omen Ex Simulacra

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It’s probably fair to call Ævangelist a black/death band — that’s what Metal Archives says, after all, and their albums mostly sound like the work of an extreme metal band who can’t be bothered to sit still within the confines of either subgenre. Unlike a band like Behemoth, though, who use death metal’s immediacy to convey black metal’s message, or any of the hundreds of bestial war metal bands who blur the lines with imprecision and bury the results in murk, Ævangelist aims to synthesize the colossal weirdness lurking in both genres.

The first three minutes of “Veils,” the opening track to sophomore LP Omen Ex Simulacra, has no guitar, bass, drums, or vocals. Ævangelist opts instead to ramp up the atmosphere, with a mix of old-school Cynic space noises and deeply unsettling ambience in the vein of Blut Aus Nord or Xasthur. When the riffs finally arrive, they aren’t showy or particularly catchy, serving rather as vessels to keep the atmosphere’s momentum going. This goes on for nearly 13 awesome and occasionally terrifying minutes. The rest of the album pulls from the same bag of tricks — high-pitched Mercyful Fate vocals next to jagged Anaal Nathrakh industrial freakouts next to spooky In the Nightside Eclipse keys. It would probably come off as mere pastiche if any other band was combining this many strange elements in this reckless a fashion, but Ævangelist stands alone.

Perhaps as a natural result of its maximalist approach, Omen Ex Simulacra is ultimately an album that requires some work on the listener’s part. Its eight songs take well over an hour to unfold, and the heavily layered production job means some of the best moments won’t reveal themselves until several listens in. But like so many death-leaning metal albums this year, it’s worth the work.

Omen Ex Simulacra comes out on November 29 via Debemur Morti. You can preorder it here. Get weird with a full stream below.

— Brad Sanders

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Invisible Oranges will also be co-sponsoring Ævangelist’s upcoming NYC date at Saint Vitus Bar on January 25, with Maryland’s Oak and Long Island’s excellent Artificial Brain. Keep an eye out for tickets.

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