Remains – Evoking Darkness


Old school death metal band Remains returns with its fourth release Evoking Darkness which shows inspiration from the Swedish and American greats of mid-90s death metal merged with the type of bluesy and infectious integration of classic heavy metal that made Clandestine a powerful album, albeit placed in a style that is closer to a cross between older Dismember and Unleashed. The band does not attempt to innovate in aesthetics but creates a sonic charge with the energy and unsettling corruption of mainstream archetypes which defined death metal during its heyday.

The band produced an impressive body of work with its 2012 demo “The True Essence,” the …Of Death EP the following year and Angels Burned in 2014, and follows up on those with simpler, tighter songs that eschew pure grinding in favor of a well-blended integration of metal styles designed to be both audially compelling and unnerving in the method of classic death metal. Songs rotate around a central break from the verse/chorus pairings, repeating themselves in both introduction and egress from that core confrontation. Lead guitars drop in with a variety of styles integrated into organic but energetic explosions of clusters of notes and lengthy fret runs. Vocals take on the gruff exhortations of older Dismember and give it the percussive rhythm of American death metal like Malevolent Creation, crafting a narrative of violence with a lining of excited morbidity. Remains shy away from the melancholic and dark side of death metal and instead converge on its region of pure energy, with music that delights in the finely-picked textures of Swedish death metal alongside the percussive power of Florida death metal. Herein lies where Remains can improve this work, which is that the hard rock/heavy metal integration into the death metal does not always emerge triumphant and often consumes the death metal portion, and extremely basic chord progressions which do not give songs much room to expand in structure or melody. The aesthetic, energy and atmosphere remain perfect and can expand over time as this band matures.

Most people will be floored by how Evoking Darkness not only stays true to the old school sound but gives it life through a voice of its own which is not expressed in style but in these songs themselves and their unique takes on the riff forms from the past forty years of metal. Where Remains shows its power is in the fitting together of these meticulously crafted rhythms so that riffs both flow and contrast one another; while greater harmonic or melodic death would enhance this, it alone makes Evoking Darkness more listenable than all but a few of the retro-death albums which fit together blockily or unevenly. These riffs balance each other in dissymmetry and create a sense of an evolving lacuna which propels the listener forward to see what comes next. Not only do riffs counterpart each other well, but their internal rhythms show a study of the power of the riff itself, and the album flows past without lapses or discontinuities. It shows vast improvement over the previous album from this band and signals a path to their future, since Remains has built a framework upon which more complexity, both in complexity of structure and use of tone, can be built.

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36 thoughts on “Remains – Evoking Darkness

  1. discodjango says:

    I didn’t like “Angels Burned”, but this review sounds promising, so I will check out the new album. Hopefully they got rid of the silly chugging riffs.

  2. Richard Head says:

    This sounds promising (and has some righteous artwork) so I will be checking it out.

    Speaking of “old-school” or revivalist death metal bands, anyone have comments on Horrified’s album “The Chills”?

    1. discodjango says:

      At first i thought it was a solid record, but pretty soon I realized that it’s only a mixture of early Death, early Pestilence and Swedish death metal with melodic solos on top. It’s well executed, but it’s ‘hero worshipping’ and doesn’t have a purpose beyond that.

      1. Richard Head says:

        They do a good job of picking and choosing from the Tampa and Swedish sound, selecting (regionally) disparate techniques and tying them together well. I think I know what you mean by “doesn’t serve a purpose” beyond hero worship but I find that it works as a regular old solid death metal album.

        1. discodjango says:

          At least it’s better than their stupid second album.

          1. Richard Head says:

            Well thanks for saving me the trouble of checking into it. One song was all I needed to drop it.

            1. Killian says:

              There are a few decent songs on their second album, but most of it has too much of that rock-n-roll sound for me. If we’re talking old-school yet “different” (so to speak) death metal from last year, my pick goes to Execration’s “Morbid Dimensions”.

              1. Richard Head says:

                The rock sound is evident to myself as well. I will check into Execration, since I’m always interested in hearing revivalist bands just to see how people think of writing death metal in 2015.

      2. 1349 says:

        “but it’s ‘hero worshipping’ and doesn’t have a purpose beyond that”

        Such things are also similar to historical reconstruction/reenactment.
        Like when dudes buy themselves SS uniforms and fake MP44s or make themselves chain mails and fake swords and simulate combat in front of a camera.
        Those years and that spirit are completely gone but people love to worship them.

    2. Killian says:

      It’s not too bad, I’ve found more enjoyment from the demos collection though.

    3. Arasucks The Biggy says:

      Richard Head , what are your thoughts on early UK band Benediction and their latest cd Killing Music ?

      1. Richard Head says:

        Actually I am unfamiliar with the band so I looked up and listened to Killing Music and still don’t have much to say about it. The worst I will say is that it sounds redundant in 2015 but I didn’t hear anything that stands out, good or bad. That’s only on the first listen though, so I’ll have to hear it a few more times.

        What is a good starting point for listening through their past discography?

        1. Concerned Citizen says:

          They had music videos for Ashen Epitaph and The Grotesque (anyone remember Death is just the beginning 3?). Probably their best (“most tolerable”). They’re pretty much relegated to the “mediocre at best” pile with Pungent Stench, Gorefest, etc.

        2. Richard Feet says:

          Their second album seems their best. Their first album is proto death metal like Celtic Frost meets GBH or Discharge.

    4. gloomndoom says:

      The band’s name is ‘Horrendous’.

  3. discodjango says:

    By the way: the band’s name is Horrendous.

    1. discodjango says:

      This should have been posted under Richard Head’s entry. Sorry.

    2. Richard Head says:

      Thanks for the correction. I made that same mistake a couple times while searching for the band, thinking “surely theses aren’t the same guys who wrote Repulsion…”

  4. GORGOROTH says:

    Gorgoroth has signed to Soulseller Records, who will release the band’s new album “Instinctus Bestialis” on 8. June 2015 on CD/vinyl and digital (available through Amazon, Spotify, iTunes etc.). This is going to be their best album so far better than their first two albums for sure !!!

    1. Anthony says:

      Go away Infernus

    2. Gaztoto says:

      Instinctus Bestialis was recorded with financial support from Bergen Kommune.

  5. Ara says:

    Slow week. Didn’t sjws do something annoying this week?

    1. Richard Head says:

      The band “Black Pussy” got some recognition (free publicity) from the predictable PC police backlash. Guess it wasn’t DMU-worthy but it was hilarious. Cats are a sensitive subject, apparently.

  6. Black Death Novel Tea Club says:

    Speaking of classic death metal… it has now been two years since Dean Swinford’s “Death Metal Epic” Book One… is that all there is? Any news whatsoever on the possibility of other books, or was that it?

  7. Please Suck me DRY says:

    does anybody have a problem with this band’s cover artwork ?

    Social justice warriors want to ban it !!!

  8. Genocide for all says:

    Prudent advice from a happily married man.


    Alright motherfuckers!! You can download Perdition’s Temple latest album right here:

    If you like it then buy the fucker from their site.

    Some awesome death metal bands recommended by this site include:

    Infernal Dominion
    Perdition Temple

    1. Imposition says:

      Excellent work.

  10. Fanny the Tranny says:

    Deafhaven fans think are a bunch of fucking elitists !

    At least Deafhaven is bringing something fresh to an otherwise stale black metal genre. They say:

    1. Richard Head says:

      Didn’t even watch the video because it was obviously going to be a waste of time with Metal Injection and Revolver involved.

      Anyway, how did the term “elitist” develop a disparaging connatation among regular jack-offs? My guess is that they’ve never opened a dictionary and do not know the definition of “elite” but I could be wrong (for the first time ever).

      1. I blew my head off like Per Ohlin says:

        It’s always metalheads who get called “elitists”, yet not much coverage is done for other genres.
        Hip-Hop equally has elitists or as they call them backpackers, but then again I guess you could call them hipsters.
        All I know is, every genre born out of a reaction to the norm tends to try and protect its identity through elitism.

  11. Thy Grief says:

    How come none of you Brett Stevens followers remembers this groundbreaking Norwegian black metal band ?

  12. Ricardo el Puto says:

    Ok bitches, it’s settled.
    Perdition Temple released the best album of 2015. Hands down, no arguments. I can’t imagine any other band releasing anything superior to this album. I didn’t like their debut that much, but this one is fucking ass raping awesome.

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