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I featured Montreal-based death metal duo Samskaras's debut EP in the debut of my Technical Ecstasy column -- certainly, there's something innately refreshing about a new format or perspective, especially when the going gets techy. Not all bands (or columns, for that matter) deliver the raw goods, though. It's a tough market, and ears/eyes are ever-discerning for something relatable but ultimately bespoke. The 2017 EP was just that -- familiar but fresh (and also heavy as shit) -- plus it somehow managed to consistently pump up my mood.

My best guess for this amazing feat of mental elevation: Samskaras's superbly dynamic vocal affront, led by Eric Burnet, lurched me into a mental groove I couldn't escape. That's not to downplay Burnet's equally as groovy riffing and its synchronous interplay with Alexandre Dupras's drumming assault. The same all goes for their upcoming Lithification EP, a four-song mini-beast now featuring an expanded genre palette (a distinct blackening of the death metal, plus more wider metalcore and deathcore scopes) and even more dynamism on the vocal front. Stream the Lithification EP's catchiest track "As Warriors" exclusively below.

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Samskaras write energetic death metal for bodily movement. Not only is this new EP moshworthy -- as evidenced by basically all of "As Warriors" -- it harbors enough technicality and variation to keep headphone listens (with knee-bopping of course) interesting. Samskaras forewent slams and primitive chugs in exchange for more embedded riffage; the EP often breaks off into tremolo-picked (and often darker mood-wise) sections which are nestled between chord-driven choruses. To wit, it's as if Gorguts mated with Despised Icon to produce one gnarly offspring.

The Lithification EP's other three tracks aren't quite as catchy as "As Warriors," but they make up for this with rawer aggression and intense microbursts of speed. Death metal in this vein is arguably hard to nail (or nail down) -- suffice it to say that Samskaras have adopted a bit of progression to their otherwise -core approach. If the band releases a full-length in the future, their sonic expansion will benefit them greatly in weaving an interesting (and hopefully challenging) death metal narrative.

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The Lithification EP releases October 26th. Pre-orders can be had here. Follow the band on Facebook.

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