If you’re not already tired of me having talked about nothing but death metal thus far in 2020, you may be getting there after this. Engulf is a one-man black-tinted death metal project-based right here in the northeast corner of America. No full-lengths, but the past three years brought us a new EP each year, the most recent one being Transcend. Stuff like this is hit-or-miss, as it can either be something way out on its own like Witchbones, or it can be a simple Behemoth clone.
Engulf are closer to the latter, but I hate to admit that it comes off far more generic than that. Clean production isn’t always enough to do that on its own, but just about every other trope you can hope for is also blatantly present. The machine-gun-like drums shower every moment of this to ridiculous degrees, the vocals are throaty and have almost no identity to help them stand out, and the riffs don’t do anything interesting. It’s somewhat hard to tell anyway, since the vocals and drums dominate the hell out of everything. Solos do take the forefront at times, but even those feel like they’re just thrown in, without any kind of adhesive to make them stick. See the very short one that erupts in “From Chasms Deep.”
I will admit that the start of this feels pretty promising. “Bane Of Fire” has a haunting intro that trickles in with a banger riff and offers plenty to hope for. I just wish Transcend could have followed that lead the rest of the way. Instead, the outcome yields four songs that just took basic ideas from the modern death metal rule-book, and shuffled them up. Even the slower passages kinda roll on with no varying factors from the blasting drums or repetitive riffing approaches. I’m not saying there’s no potential, but the incredible album art and intro caused a letdown. If you like your death metal crystal clear, easy to digest, and extremely one-dimensional, perhaps you should seek this out. Hopefully, a full-length will extract some of Engulf’s talent and extrude it through a more unique shape.
Transcend came out on September 20th, 2019 through Everlasting Spew. Listen to it right here!