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Cenotaph - Gloomy Reflections of Our Hidden Sorrows
Review: Cenotaph have developed brilliantly a national sound for Mexico in a pungent mix of the heavier, guttural, chugging, syncopated American sounds that bonds guitar bash to drum abuse under the aegis of a barfing vocal style noone can comprehend, infused with homegrown technique and a tendency toward melodic songwriting like a European band.
The murky malevolence of this music is unchecked by a need for demonstration and instead it plows forward with unwrapping layers of texture which suggest more than a superstitious prediction of boundary, this music suggests a position of setting and a nihilistic journey of observation. Its values are not self-pity, nor are they purely anger, but a mixture of self-reflection and negativity in the context of imagination of change.
Mixed into this form are European death metal influences in oddball melodics and precision drumming, with lead guitar aspirations toward a broken down but neoclassical thematism. Predominant doom influences are mixed in not as thrown-in ingredients but as integral contribution to a unique style: much as Sepultura defined Brazil on the metal map, Cenotaph have done so for Mexico by differentating sensibilities clearly. The shuddering roar that is their aesthetic comes from both the aggressive gore metal bands farther north and the rhythmic cannibals of the south declaring a self-destructive necrotic hopelessness.
Unsteady though this music sometimes is, its durable rhythm and ambitious structure makes its listening a sequence of realizations over multiple exposures. A narrative unfolds from a storyline that began with the simplest of continuities, holding space and shaping it in a mixture of traits to create atmosphere. Within that area of abstract logic, riffs through shape and direction change relativity to an objective comment in the subjective, reducing the complexity of existence to a single organic voice of chaos. For all of its technical and artistic power, what makes this music most enduring is its appeal to the listener and relentless creation toward a distinct, free spirit in underground metal.