Hailing from Atlanta, Alluvial have been gracing the metal scene with their star-studded lineup since 2017. Featuring ex-Suffocation vocalist Kevin Muller and Wes Hauch of Glass Casket and The Faceless fame on guitar, Alluvial blends the darkness and brutality you'd expect from Muller's vocals with a surprisingly melodic element across its runtime.
Death Is But A Door isn't your typical death metal EP. Though there are only 4 songs, each song is carefully composed to push the boundaries of death metal into a more progressive and intricate avenue. Starting off with "Bog Dweller", Alluvial immediately delves into crunchy, syncopated riffs that unrelentingly march alongside blast beat drums. The song remains staunch in intensity yet has steady prog-like variations in it to keep it from being boring and repetitive.
Towards the latter half of the songm a breakdown shows off the band's chops. Alluvial is not afraid to push the foundations of death metal, keeping things brick-heavy while exploring hints of pioneering melody. The mix provides an alluring depth, keeping the listener engaged, and each instrument has their 'moment' making the songs feel balanced and well-rounded.
"Fogbelt" explores the idea of dimension further by adding freer guitar licks alongside tighter explosions of riffage. You'd might expect that the vocals would consume each song, but "Fogbelt" is another example of Alluvial's ability to show that the music can do the talking for itself. After a barrage of more syncopated moments and atmospheric sound editing, the song dives into an instrumental section that deepens the story-telling aspect of the track.
"Area Code" is equally as massive and intricate as the former tracks, adding seemingly asynchronous drums and strings at just the right time to create an interest and intrigue. Dotted with breakdowns and the savagery you now come to expect, "Area Code" dances with more atmospheric soundbites and ugly-but-beautiful guitar work.
By far my favorite track off the the EP, the work ends with the titular song "Death Is But A Door". The opening hits hard. Magnificent and sweeping are the clean vocals, making "Death Is But A Door" a triumph of a track.
Again, each instrument takes an equal share, making the song feel satisfyingly complete. It's mixed beautifully as well, dripping with controlled and intended power. Taking a slight break from the rolling fervor of face-melting riffs, the song takes a moment to breathe. It shows the versatility of the band as a whole. Alluvial are equally equipped to make you mosh as they are to make you feel.
If Death Is But A Door is a sign of things to come, Alluvial will continue to carve out an important spot for themselves in the modern death metal scene. The growth they've had over their last two albums into this EP is apparent. Unafraid to explore depth and atmosphere, Alluvial mix savagery with seemingly effortless technique to create inspired music. While Death Is But A Door feels dark and brooding, its explosive energy and experiments with melody, timing and structure steer the album in an emotional and exciting direction.