Review: “Autelmorte” by Renunciation

Hailing from Moscow Russia, Renunciation have been treading the left hand path since 2019 with debut EP “The Terminal Archetype” being unveiled a year later, raising the bar for Technical Progressive Blackened Death Metal from the region and receiving wide spread critical acclaim as a result. The quartet who comprise vocalist Demether Grail (Dusk Chapel, Entrenchment, Grailight), guitarist Alexey Kotov (Enemy Crucifixion, Humaniac, ex-Arhideus), bassist Vadim Kotov (Humaniac) and drummer Polina “Acotath” Archangelskaya (Blackthorn, Firiath, Instorm) are a collection of seasoned veterans, scared by time and burned by in the flames of past lives. They first announced their debut album with the cover art as far back as September 2021. Lyrically the album has an intelligence to match the ferocity and technicality of the music the band create with concepts from ancient Greek mythology, principles of natural cycles and of psychological development and theoretical physics all appearing at moments…

…the burning of the thatched rooves of the villagers begins with the rampaging opening cut “Ariopolis“, a break neck Death Metal inspired cut with razor sharp riffs and banshee screamed vocals, soaked in blast beats an accompanied by the kind of lightening lead work that raises the hairs on the back of your neck. Not only an incredible cut in its own right but very much a statement piece for the album as a whole, the transition to melodic acoustic guitars and delicate piano mid track is simply the calm before the storm of the second half, a moment of respite that is playful and fun as well as being completely unexpected. Staccato riff breaks and a Thrash leaning solo continue the brutality before the power house chant of the closing which puts a boot print on your skull. The energy is retained like lightening in a bottle for follow up “To Separate the Soul from Flesh“, Grail’s throat splitting dry throated vocals separating flesh from bone, never mind the soul from the flesh. Modern classic Black Metal guitar tones have been used to fantastic effect while the bass is allowed to bleed into the mix before a crushingly athletic blast beat section from Archangelskaya that decimates the weak with some intriguing fills. Kotov even reaches the speed of  Power Metal acts like DragonForce with some of his lead guitar work, which is just incredible. The second voice from Grail, a deeper bark to his usual shriller tone is brutally effective “Enantiodromia” as the Renunciation put the pedal to the floor and commit every ounce of their musicianship, dexterity and energy to tape to stunning effect. It sounds like they will need a second guitarist to be able to carry off these songs in the live arena but that is a welcome dilemma when the riffs are this powerful.

Opening with a mid tempo Death March style riff, “Empty Hell for Empty Shells” is another lethal dose of what Renunciation have to offer, the sheer weight and gravity of it being totally skull crushing while having a moment for a spoken word that is darkly atmospheric and perfectly executed. It was only ever a matter of time before the overwound handle flew off and the band returned to the breakneck adrenalized pace of the earlier material and the transition is a real moment, as slick as they come. The surprise is the funky opening of “Когда исчезнет время (When Time Disappears)” which perhaps dials in some Plini influence, the searing vocals and pummelling kit work the only link to the earlier material in an eyebrow raising fashion. Just as incredible as the earlier tracks, this one shows that the band have more to them than the brooding darkness while having a clever evolution at its black heart. Instrumental “Hanlon’s Razor” is a reflection of the title which means “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity“; a whirlwind of riffs that creates a tornado when accompanied by the pummelling percussive battery. It has a cinematic edge, the ideal soundscape for a chase scene in a blockbuster movie which sees the protagonists escape enemies by the skill of their teeth. One final tsunami of sound remains in “Kugelblitz“, an absolute ripper that matches the event that creates a black hole to which the title refers before dragging you kicking and screaming through it. A phenomenal record of fire and fury matched by intricate guitars and playful moments, this one needs to be heard to be believed… [8.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Ariopolis
2. To Separate the Soul from Flesh
3. Enantiodromia
4. Empty Hell for Empty Shells
5. Когда исчезнет время (When Time Disappears)
6. Hanlon’s Razor
7. Kugelblitz

Autelmorte” by Renunciation is out 21st October 2022 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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