Review: “Oxymoron” by Spiritual Deception

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of Humans Ablaze in 2016, Italian Death Metal quartet Spiritual Deception was formed as the brainchild of guitarist Mirko Frontini and after a pair of well received EPs in 2018’s self-titled and 2019’s “Etemenanki” and some serious line up changes have taken place. Returning with their third burnt offering, the band now consist of guitarist Riccardo Maccarana, bassist Billy Repalam and drummer Manuel Del Giudice with Frontini handing both vocals as well as guitars. The new line up are calling “Oxymoron” an “introspective death metal infused with technical riffs and obscure atmospheres” although judging by their comments and the EP title meaning “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction“, looks could well be deceiving…

Oxymoron is born as a concept about light and darkness’ dualism. It takes inspiration from myths, Talmud, and works of literature. In the heart of the EP we placed a 3-part endeavour, composed by the triptych Captatio Benevolentiae’, ‘Oxymoron,’ and ‘Damnatio Memoriae,’ as inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. This mini-concept deals with the relationship between God and Lucifer, their conflict and how each character is depicted by the original author, focusing on the anti-hero concept. The track ‘Oxymoron’ is actually the antipodes’ meeting point: God and Lucifer, Light and Darkness, Hero and Anti-Hero. From a musical point of view the three-part concept can be experienced as a standalone and unique song, composed as a three-part climax, with the track ‘Oxymoron’ as a joining link, both musically and conceptually. ‘Hidden in Consciousness’ is a reflection about an alternative origin of mankind, inspired by Mesopotamian mythology. ‘Serpent’s speech’ concerns Lucifer’s thoughts about his and mankind’s condition, how they are deeply linked, one with the other, and actually being the same.” ~ Spiritual Deception

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Andrea Oriani at Blue House Studio and with orchestration by Giacomo Savina at Black Alley Studios, Spiritual Deception have unleashed a beast of an EP in “Oxymoron” that flies out of the gate like a winged demon with “Hidden in Consciousness“, a cut soaked in blast beats and full of the kind of Technical Death Metal riffage you might expect of a Rings Of Saturn record. As if delivered by a wrathful God, its nothing short of a thunderous display and with the sheer bowel clenching lows of Frontini capable of shattering glass at thirty feet, you have to wonder why he wasn’t the vocalist from the very start of the bands career. Funky bass lines from Repalam that have been allowed to rise to the surface of the mix remind of Revocation while the solo on the opening cut is a vibrant affair that only serves to enhance the already glowing reputation of the band. The orchestration that runs throughout has been carefully considered to add a dark and brooding atmospheric that sits within the mix without being overpowering, something has hurt other similar records in the recent past. “Captatio Benevolentiae” has a powerful, crushing mid section that stomps and sways with sweeping lead motions helping to build the oppressive atmosphere and sense of tension while the transitions and tempo shifts have been executed with skill and dexterity. There is even time for a downtempo Deathcore passage before the icy classical piano opening of the title track sends shivers down the spine. It may have its roots in classical music but offers a moment of clarity before slowly building with a delicate lead and some Black Metal inspired kit work that takes the listener into an entirely new realm with its dark instrumental beauty. “Damnatio Memoriae” then picks up where the earlier material left off with furious intent and blood spitting, larynx threatening vocals from Frontini and some dirge laden riff savagery that dredges the ocean floors with its crushing lows however its “Serpent’s Speech” that truly astounds with slick solos of sublime technicality that lights up the place like a solar flare. Yes the lines between Technical Deathcore and Technical Death Metal have been blurred throughout the EP but frankly, who cares? Don’t be a purist, if it sounds great, listen! [8/10]

Track listing

1. Hidden in Consciousness
2. Captatio Benevolentiae
3. Oxymoron (Instrumental)
4. Damnatio Memoriae
5. Serpent’s Speech

Oxymoron” by Spiritual Deception is out 8th October 2021 and available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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