Engulf: The Dying Planet Weeps

The Dying Planet Weeps

Everlasting Spew Records
Released 1/12/2024

The fine folks over at Everlasting Spew Records have unleashed another death metal juggernaut. Coming out today, on a cold and wintry day here in Canada is the first full length release from Engulf. This project is essentially a one man band fronted by Hal Microutsicos; whose credited as vocalist and all instruments.

From what I understand, the project was formed in 2015 and three EP's have been released in 2017, 2918 and 2019. So here we are in 2024 and we finally we have a full slate of music on an album stretching the death metal template into a foray of jagged cuts and abrasions.

But before we get into the music, let me say the cover art really caught my eye. How can anyone not like the imagery of a warrior lost in a contemplative yoga position, sitting in a vast and snowy wasteland. I'm not sure what the cover represents, but the record is called "The Dying Planet Weeps", so that might explain things. Regardless, it set up my expectations from the get go.

The haunting moments that begin on "Withered Sun Collapse" dig down deep and then suddenly erupts into a tantalizing and hypnotic chug. The pace drags and moans over the melodic guitar tones, but it doesn't quite grab me fully. I think the next track "Bellows From the Aether" repeats a bit, whoever the doomy sludge sound is layered heavily over this track. When you get to the third song it becomes very apparent that this is a modern death metal sound; what with the gnarly vocals and razor sharp riffing that finally got to me. Entitled "The Nefarious Hive", this rips and then drags along, but very reminiscent of later Hate Eternal.

"Ominous Grandeur" is hypnotic; spiralling into a sludgy offering and topped off with some really agonizing vocals. I think you get the same feeling when "Lunar Scourge" rears up in the track listing as song number five. The vocals click here and fire on all cylinders and don't overpower the rapid fire tandem of the guitars and drums. I think I was hoping for songs that dive straight into the jugular vein, but most of these offerings lean towards a mid pace groove. The one exception is "Plagued Oblivion" because the chugging riffs standout and truly drive the song. I think this is also the heaviest track among the bunch and probably will be the one I come back to again.

The album then shifts into the longest track called "Earthbore" with vocals that really stand out for me. Often coming across as a close comparison to Luc Lemay of Gorguts fame, Hal does an admirable job of providing guttural bellows that save this number. My one minor complaint here is that the song is a bit of a slog to get through, despite the terrific riffing and terse vocals. We then end on a short instrumental "The Dying Planet Weeps" that is pretty much a dirge to this whole album.

Overall, this isn't a bad release for a full length. I just wish it had a bit more punch for my tastes and went for the jugular more often than not. Sure there are some slight comparisons to Hate Eternal and Gorguts, however it doesn't stray far enough from the slow pace and hypnotic drone of the music. It's tough to be a one man band, but I'm going to keep my on Hal Microutsicos to see where he goes from here.

I'm giving this release a solid 7 out of 10.

Best songs: Bellows From the Aether, The Nefarious Hive and Lunar Scourge.

Kenneth Gallant, HMS

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More band info here:

Engulf is New Jersey-based, Hal Microutsicos' one-man band, drawing influence from all dark corners of the extreme music realm. Hal is also part of death/black metal band Blasphemous.