Review: “Wrong” by Elitium
It’s often said that good things come to those who wait and its safe to say that nine years after their 2014’s EP “Ataxia” a full debut album from Portuguese Death Metal quartet Elitium in “Wrong” has certainly been a long time coming. While no hiatus is claimed by the band, active since 2011 with debut EP “Transcendent” releasing a year later, there have been line up changes that have seemingly been at the heart of why this one has taken longer to drop than anyone expected. Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by guitarist Diogo Agapito (Vai-Te Foder, Pe Roto, Capela Mortuaria) at I Scream Studios in Braga Portugal, it’s been described a relentless display of uncompromising Death Metal with a modern twist…
…and that short and yet oh so sweet description is pretty accurate with opening cut “Humus” a blunt force trauma to the skull of restless and relentless percussive power from drummer Jordi Lopes who is an absolute beast behind the kit. It has to be said that Agapito has absolutely nailed the quality of the recording as well as the mix in the studio leaving everything sounding crisp, clean and in balance. Throat shredding vocals from Johny Phobick are savagely caustic and a couple of Slam inspired moments in final moments aren’t wholly unexpected; the classic solo from Agapito the icing on the cake before breakdown section to kill for. The band have cited influences in Dyscarnate, Ingested and Thy Art Is Murder in the build up to the release and its easy to see why that would be the case. The sinister and menacing “Tasteless” was the cut chosen for a pre-release music video and offers up another face ripping-ly intense destructive force with intriguing nuances. Synths and orchestrations by André Afonso, bother of bassist João Afonso embellish the album and the pop out of the mix over multiple listens, not necessarily apparent on the first spin. It’s like the band said to themselves, “this could be the last time, so lets go hard or go home” and this sonic assault on the senses is the outpouring of almost a decades worth of pure hatred. It has to be said that the maturity in the bands sound compared to their earlier works in interesting, this feels very much like a new beginning, distilled down to the bare essentials and filtered for purity. As a quartet they sound hungrier, more focused and out for blood.
The dark swirling atmospheric of “Putative Insurgency” is immense, Phobic sounding nothing short of demonic as his vocals scorch the ear drums against a backdrop of blood and thunder rhythmic battery. He cleverly mixes up the vocals, elongating words to draw out some bowel clenching lows to add an extra depth and texture to his parts. Splitting the album clean in half like a hatchet to the skull, “Lysis” is a circle pit starter from front to back with Groove laden riffs that leap into the a couple of more Technical inspired parts that are nothing short of incredible. Phobic again changes things up with a couple of shriller vocal lines that test the metal, the early Between The Buried and Me styled mid section monstrous. That rampage continues into “Orderly Hunting“, another bludgeoning Death Metal cut armed for the apocalypse with razor sharp riffs to delight even the most hardened of Metal heads, a melodic Progressive Metal section in the final third adding diversity and fleeting respite before the final moments sound like Phobic has been dragged kicking and screaming back to hell. There is an early Lamb Of God influence on the second half of “Social Architecture” with Phobic pulling out some vocal patterns that sound like a Randy Blythe guest spot to accompany some “Ashes Of The Wake” era riffage. Wholly unexpected and stunningly delivered, its a jaw to the floor moment that cracks a smile. Final cut “Prevised Eviternity” keeps up the intensity levels with murderous intent, the neck snapping groove inescapable. Elitium have grown into a beast that we want more from, hopefully Death is only the beginning… [8/10]
3. Putative Insurgency
5. Orderly Hunting
6. Social Architecture
7. Prevised Eviternity
“Wrong” by Elitium is out 19th May 2023 via Gruesome Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.