Transcending Obscurity Records releases some of the best heavy music on the planet. This is certainly not a secret in underground circles, but is becoming less and less mysterious to the mainstream. “TO”, as die-hard folks refer to it, is the kind of label that’s just synonymous with greatness, and tends to have as many fans as the bands on their roster. Label owner Kunal Choksi possess an expressive and unique wanderlust for Metal, which we certainly don’t mind pointing out when we have occasion to do so.
This year alone, TO has released albums from bands out of Portugal, Argentina, Australia, UK, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Germany, Canada, Chile, Brazil, and Finland. Each of these countries possess their own “sound”, particularly in the Death Metal arena. That being said, as you can imagine, there are many roads a writer can travel to get to the heart of a record. This is one reason it has taken me so long to express my admiration for “Only Ashes Remain”, the from Finland’s Sepulchral Curse.
Finland and Death Metal are in league like stink on a pig, and Sepulchral Curse are fixing to turn your brains to bacon. Though that may not be the most appetizing analogy, especially if you’re vegan, I can assure you “Only Ashes Remain” is exactly what Death Metal fans are hungry for. Let me put it this way. If you put Amorphis, Funebre, Vorum, Rippikoulu, Hooded Menace, and Krypts in a blender, peppered with a bit of Morbid Angel and Blood Incantation, you’re gonna get a Sepulchral Curse smoothie. Sound good? Yeah, it’s fucking delicious!
It wouldn’t hurt to point out that vocalist Kari Kankaanpää and guitarist Aleksi Luukka make up two thirds of Solothus, who also released an equally devastating record this year. This sheds some light on the Death/Doom tincture that is present throughout “Only Ashes Remain”, as well as solidifies the pair as a force to be reckoned with. Jaakko Riihimäki (guitar), Niilas Nissilá (bass), and Tommi Ilmanen (drums) round out Sepulchral Curse, making them sound like a band that’s been together for decades.
Each song on “Only Ashes Remain” is meticulously crafted, mixing old school Death Metal sounds with elements of Thrash, and Doom. These tunes are catchy, melodic, complex, focused and uncompromisingly savage. With this album, Sepulchral Curse prove to be masters of transition and composition, the likes of which are lacking in comparability. For fans of a genre that can so often become stylized and uninteresting, this is fantastic news. Another win for Death Metal in 2020.
Rating – 5/5