It feels like only yesterday in which this relatively new American “Swedish Chainsaw” [Swe-rican?] act released their first full length album, titled “Invocation of the Xenolith”, and yet here we are already with their latest EP, “Celestial Gateway”. While “Invocation of the Xenolith” is a good album, they’ve stepped up in a big way. I’ll expound on this more in the next paragraph.
“Invocation of the Xenolith”, which deservedly put Boethiah on the radar of anyone with an insatiable lust for savory HM-2 drenched riffs, felt rough around the edges. The album didn’t have much of an organic feel to it, occasionally even seeming a bit directionless during later parts of the album. As such, Boethiah didn’t really develop their own personality, instead relying heavily on the personality of their obvious influences. These notable flaws have been cast into the void, and although it may be a bit too ‘nail-on-the-head’, I’d like to assume said void is via a Celestial Gateway. What we are treated to here is a short-but-sweet album which shows Boethiah have gained the confidence and ability to inject their own personality in what has become a rather crowded style.
Undeniably a much more powerful force to be reckoned with now, Boethiah has refined their sound, naturally venturing to darker places. The hatred and rage felt in the riffs has intensified insurmountably, including some very moody leads that slither in and out of your sanity like tentacles. The drums work in a significantly more creative manner, giving the riffs an exo-skeletal structure of ebony mail. The vocals bellow with a power and authority that few are capable of withstanding, as if being projected by a great old one. The songs are generally mid-tempo heavyweights, a style which I feel Boethiah has now proven to be organically adept at. This package as a whole feels like an unseen hulking beast, something from beyond your worst nightmares, pummeling your soul relentlessly from alternate dimensions. You never see the beast, but you undeniably languish from its presence, and while the assaults may feel physical, only your own psyche ever suffers.
Indeed, the entities that comprise Boethiah have adapted lungs and learned to breathe. They have taken their time to mutate, to show you what they are truly capable of. They have metamorphosed from their husks and evolved into otherworldly beings not even Lovecraft himself could have imagined. While notable influences such as early Entombed and Grave are ever-present, you’d be hard-pressed to find a band playing Swedish Death Metal that doesn’t proudly blend styles of such bands in their sound. My one gripe with Boethiah this time is that this album is just too damn short! I’m definitely looking forward to a new full-length from them, and with the impressive amount of maturing they’ve proven to be capable of in a short time-frame, I’m expecting something very impressive. Perhaps on the 2nd of Sun’s Dusk.
Find the Celestial Gateway below!