ÆVANGELIST – Writhes in the Murk

Sometimes before we write these things we like to check out the plebosphere to see what kinds of opinions are being tossed about, just for a frame of reference.  Don’t dare accuse us of plagiarism, because it doesn’t happen around here, we’re original, 100%.  The main reason for doing such research is to get an idea of what people think so we can condemn them thoroughly, which is useful for an album like Writhes in the Murk, which is so unusual at first listen, even to an autocrat, that we sometimes take great pleasure in observing the empty words of the uninitiated.  Not surprisingly, ÆVANGELIST, and this their most recent full-length, have received quite a bit of criticism including part-time Metallum review-trolls who justify their uneducated opinions by the fact that it’s posted on the internet, so it must mean something.  Unfortunately such truth is only reserved for the tested, for the experienced, for those of us with years of bleeding ears to account for why we can derail any conversation with band references that irritate anyone who tries to talk music.  Hear us now, for it is we who are bringers of the truth and knowledge.  If you see it on here, it means we like it (we don’t do those negative reviews anymore), and further it means listen if not to us than at least the album in question.


Writhes in the Murk gives little time for acceptance, it’s a mockery of form.  You’re essentially totally enthralled by its degradation or you go back to your Megadeth and act like it didn’t matter anyway.  Portland Oregon’s ÆVANGELIST have only been around for about five years at this point, with their first full-length, De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulisreleased in 2012.  If you click on that link, you’ll see why they’re typically compared to Australia’s PORTAL, who educated us on their existence not so long ago.  The comparison is fitting, because ÆVANGELIST has the same tendency to rely heavily on chaos over order, leading one to almost meditate on the sound before finding the meaning.  Some say that’s simply an excuse for the 1% of us who “get it” to act like we do, but in reality it is, in fact, something that takes another level of understanding, as perhaps Abstract Expressionist metal at the minimum to even begin to comprehend where it’s going.  If you take that kind of opinion as unnecessarily avant-garde, you probably shouldn’t be listening to Writhes in the Murk in the first place, so kindly disregard the rest of this review.  For those of you interested in purging your mind, continue.


ÆVANGELIST, generally speaking, tend to vary their approach more than other bands of their type, incorporating other instruments into their wall of dissonance, as well as leading the listener from chaos into order and back again.  Clearly, Writhes in the Murk is self-aware, if the opener “Hosanna” doesn’t prove it, the rest will.  There’s a consistently dense mire here with multiple layers of riffs, incessant rhythm, and various found sounds and electronics deep within the blackened core, sounding something like moaning and clattering doors in the basement of an asylum, if you can excuse the cliche.  What’s noticeable about their work this time around is a tendency to create accessible riffs, which sink into disarray.  Once you find your thoughts given focus, they’re promptly destroyed again and you revel in the experience.  If there are any complaints to be had about this latest serving of pandemonium, it can be based on two facts.  One, in taking an approach that fluctuates between meditative darkness and riff focus, ÆVANGELIST at times create an irregular development that cuts like a rusty knife and doesn’t provide enough bleed.  Two, they also incorporate saxophone later in Writhes in the Murk that, in spite of some considering it too radical, is actually a detriment because it provides too much clarity in what is otherwise wonderful gloom.  If we’re looking for sax and metal, sorry but we’re still going to stick to something like Shining, whose natural sound is more conducive to an instrument representative of jazz.  Still, Writhes in the Murk is an awesomely displeasing release that makes us smile because so many listeners have already been confused by what it represents.  Just listen to “Halo of Lamented Glory” if you want one track to convince you, and if it doesn’t, well, pretend you have a valid complaint.


ÆVANGELIST Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

ÆVANGELIST – Writhes in the Murk
Debemur Morti Productions
4 / 5

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