It’s easy to find yourself getting lost on the Endless Pilgrimage. Just give a gander at the trippy scenic artwork. And while you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, as I’ve heard oh so many times, the art does a magnificent job of setting what you’re about to hear once you give this a spin. This pilgrimage is dense, sweeping and chaotic. And its darkness is engulfing.
London, UK’s Grave Miasma (ex-Goat Molestör) is a band that should be on your radar already if you like death metal (and not just because they’re on Profound Lore, but that’s one more good reason they should be). Their 2013 release Odori Sepulcrorum was a great piece of death metal that, if you haven’t heard, you should go listen to now. Following up on that three years later, the band has not lost their touch as they break out out their demented, twisted style once more.
It’s hard for me to think of albums that feel and sound darker than Teitanblood’s Death. Even Portal, which Grave Miasma definitely feels like they draw comparison to at times, doesn’t quite knick it. See, Grave Miasma more feel like an old school death metal band in a lot of regards. But they’ve still got a bit of modern about them. In that they have plenty of a blackened feel to their music (see the beginning section of: “Glorification of the Impure) and they have some very strong and brooding melodic sections (see: “Utterance of the Foulest Spirit).
Regardless, Endless Pilgrimage is an album that has an element of welcome with a shamisen (? It sounds like one) before jumping into the death metal. And this offering has some desolate death metal on it. I keep saying and writing “desolate” whenever I start talking about this album and I cannot help it. Why? Take into consideration how this offering manages to feel so open-ended and suffocating all at once. The old school death metal sound is there straight out of the 80s. The instruments close in around you like a noose and feel like they’re suffocating any breathing space you thought you had. But once you hear the vocals bark in, they echo and sound like they’re coming from the distance. Lead instruments get the same feeling. The opening track “Yama Transforms to Afterlife” tells all the tales on this end that you need to know. It gives Endless Pilgrimage the kind of uncomfortable sonic texture the band has come to so sickly embody.
Endless Pilgrimage sounds like the communion of Death’s Scream Bloody Gore and Teitanblood’s aforementioned Death. When Grave Miasma go off the hook they’re taking heads left and right. When they’re melodic and slow, they’ve got a ghost-like charm to them. Other moments even evoke comparisons to, again, Portal or label mates Cruciamentum. Regardless, the Grave Miasma deserves to be heard on their own terms. This is a seething, adventurous death metal piece with blackened sections and some of the strongest atmosphere I’ve heard this yet this year. This is a journey well worth taking.
You can find me here.