Review: “Eskatos” by Envig

Having worked their fingers to the bone to deliver a sophomore album of much promise in 2021’s “Gutwound” the Swedish Death Metal machine that is Envig have returned to celebrate their ninth year together with an EP in “Eskatos“. Their second release with guitarist Sebastian Gustavsson, it was recorded, mixed and mastered at Soundport (Absense Of Light, Mother Misery, Trainwreck Remedys) and continues their journey down the left hand path in their signature sound. For those not in the know, that’s an ear bleeding combination of raw and aggressive Death Metal with Crust Punk with the four piece promising ferocity to match their influences in Bolt Thrower and Asphyx.

Envig are no strangers to putting out vicious cuts in their venomous native tongue but have entertained doing a full release in that manor previously, instead opting to do so with single tracks scattered around their previous burnt offerings. Like a foreign film, a subtitle to give context is always useful so we’ve translated the track titles as we don’t speak the language but can assure you that the bands prior themes of War, Murder and Death run through the veins like the pummelling percussion from Fred Larsson. Atmospherically the record begins with “Totalitär slutpunkt” (or “Totalitarian endpoint“), the rain pouring down as the hooves crash against the Earth, the Grim Reaper riding through the forest on horseback once more. Pontus Bratt and Sebastian Gustavsson deliver groove laden riffs in the style of past masters with menacing and sinister qualities while the bass from Damien Terry is given greater prominence in the mix. Mesmerising lead guitars threaten to enter the void into Melodic Death Metal but don’t quite go that far, while a spoken word finale adds a touch of class. It might be a little on the arty side of Death Metal with shades of Russian brutes God Complex but it is a worthy, powerful statement piece.

From the mid tempo finale of its predecessor, the knife rises at breakneck pace with an injection of urgency and blast beats as “Från yxa till karbin” (or “From ax to carbine“) grabs you by the throat. Layered unclean vocals repeatedly punch you in the face, the rapid fire riffs flying in all directions as the galloping drums set the tempo of the damned and while there is a lack of contrast in the vocal layering they still work when arguably they shouldn’t. A solo in the final third is tasteful rather than flamboyant, used to maintain the creepy atmospheric rather than breathe fire into into it. An ominous sounding spoken word introduces “Helvetets rand” (or “The edge of hell“) before the pedal is but to the metal once more, Crust Punk riffs in a Death Metal guitar tone shapeshifting into Death Metal and back again with ease and making a mockery of anyone who said it couldn’t be done. Imagine Misfits playing Slayer covers (or vice versa) and you get the idea, the complexities of the Death Metal sound being used to bolster the stripped back Crust Punk approach. What’s really interesting about this one is that the band don’t stray from the left hand path and evolve into Death Grind at any point, maintaining an evil angelic purity to their sound that perhaps makes them unique.

An epic almost cinematic introduction makes “När lien har svept” (or “When the lien has swept“) sound majestic before the Envig do what they do best, slamming a brick into your skull with a roar before swinging the wrecking ball. Terry’s throat scraping, dry and raspy vocals are classically old school and he has the power and presence to go toe to toe with anyone who dare cross his path, this bass heavy the destroyer of Worlds. Continuing the legacy of Swedish Death Metal mastery, Envig are four horsemen of the apocalypse who deserve to be heard [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Totalitär slutpunkt
2. Från yxa till karbin
3. Helvetets rand
4. När lien har svept

Eskatos” by Envig is out 31st May 2024 via At Dawn Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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