Release Date: 26th October 2018
Label: Self Released
Genre: Technical Death Metal
With the release of their latest EP Lithification, the Montreal-based Samskaras offer up a slice of surgically precise Tech-Death, steeped in the brilliance of the scene that birthed them. Their trademark since day one has been bending disparate genres to their will, but the duo now embrace a heavy Prog and Black Metal influence into their punishing, dissonant soundscapes. With the potential to become an exciting new face in the world of extreme music, it remains to be seen if they will transcend their genre or fall into the myriad of noodly bands that litter the modern underground.
Initially it’s easy to be bowled over by the sheer technicality on display. Samskaras tastefully weave together a tapestry of delicately crafted riffs and drumming, complemented by crisp, modern production. This high level of proficiency is bought not only into the guitar playing and percussion, but equally the vocal performance with perfectly executed cadences and legible delivery. There are moments when Eric Burnet twists his vocals into a semi-melodic scream similar to that of Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation, injecting the EP with a welcome sense of variety. The balance between dissonance and melody is the key factor of brilliance throughout these four tracks, each mood is blended and transitioned perfectly by true masters of their craft. Samskaras clearly have a strong grasp of dynamics in heavy music, shifting tempos and grooves expertly in ‘Reconciliation’ and ‘A Deux Mains’, every movement seeking only to compliment the last, giving the compositions an almost liquid feel. Despite some unusual structuring these tracks work themselves into memorable songs, while the band’s hypnotic understanding of their craft distils itself into something that feels genuinely symphonic.
Although there may be plenty of things to get excited about, Lithification is definitely not without its faults. The lyrical content comes across somewhat corny in places, most notably in ‘As Warriors’ where the metaphor for social revolt is painfully transparent in a way that reads like high-school poetry. Though genres are blended in an interesting way, it doesn’t feel particularly novel or ear catching, relying heavily on the well trodden tropes of it’s influences. In addition, the memorability of these cuts comes down more to the specific parts rather than entire pieces, meaning it’s very easy to lose focus on the supreme musicianship and just let the sounds wash over you.
In conclusion, anyone with even a passing interest in extreme music could take something away from this EP. Samskaras present a mature, impeccably crafted slice of Technical Death Metal with some interesting and unusual influences, surely an appetiser for bigger things to come. On Lithification, the band have created something unique and tasteful within the confines of a notoriously saturated genre, presenting a gateway for them to further expand their sound and experiment with new ideas in the future.
Recommended Track: ‘A Deux Mains’