Kalopsia – Angelplague Review

Band: Kalopsia
Album: Angelplague
Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Genre: Death Metal
Country: USA
Release Date: May 19, 2017

Kalopsia are an extreme death metal quartet hailing from New Brunswick in New Jersey who are currently signed to Godeater Records, a label well known for signing underground death and black metal bands. Since their inception in 1999 and the release of their first demo in 2000, Kalopsia have continued to wreak devastation across North America with their own ferociously unique brand of modern death metal. The band are made up of four members; Matt Medeiros on vocals and guitar, Steve Horvath on guitar, bassist Mike Hussey and drummer Justin Spaeth. While this band are not particularly a name that comes to mind when you think of death metal, they really should be. Kalopsia have been consistently releasing some absolutely killer death metal over the past 17 years, and continue that pattern with their new album, “Angelplague.” Produced by Bobby Torres at Frightbox Studios in New Jersey, this new album is set to be the heaviest release from the band yet.

The opening track on the album, “Destined to Return”, gives you absolutely no time to think, as we are thrown right in at the deep end with ferocious tremolo riffing, gut pounding blast beats and intense shrieks from vocalist Matt Medeiros (something which should instantly grab any death metal fan straight away.) Kalopsia are great at delivering all the death metal clichés in the best kind of way. One thing that certainly got my attention as a listener instantaneously was Mederios’ high shrieks that remind me a little of Glenn Benton from Deicide, who of course are masters of death metal. Even this early on in the album, we can hear how technically precise Kalopsia are capable of being, with very little room being left for error. Towards the end of the track, we are treated to the classic death metal beat on the drums with the ride, kick and snare combination made famous previously by classic death bands like Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse.

“As the Serpent Devours” is up next, and straight away we are greeted with an Obituary-style riff, accompanied by heavy use of double bass pedals, before hit with a skull crushingly stomping riff that leads into the first verse. Breakdowns also make an appearance on this track, with some nasty pinch harmonics to go along with it, which makes a nice change from the faster playing we have heard previously. This band are obviously talented and diverse at what they do, and this is apparent even this early on. Technical ability is also delivered on this track, with a killer guitar solo halfway through that demonstrates the more melodic side to Kalopsia’s music.

The destruction continues on the next two tracks “Christened Upon the Slab” and “Not Peace But Pestilence”. Despite being the two shortest tracks on the album, these two tracks are written fantastically well, with Kalopsia really showing us listeners what they’re made of. Hearing vocalist Matt Mederios growling “CHRISTENED UPON THE SLAB” is enough to send a chill down the spine of any seasoned death metal listener, while the technical ferocity of the guitars and drums continue to pulverise everything in its path. My only issue is that I can’t hear enough bass in the mix, which is a shame as it would add another layer to the already intense whirlwind of death. “Not Peace but Pestilence” also brings a thrashier element to the overall sound, which adds another weapon to their already impressive collection.

“Scorched Earth and Blackened Skies” is the longest track on the album, coming in at six minutes and twenty two seconds long. While some might feel that this is far too long for a death metal track, I personally think it works. In those six minutes, Kalopsia somehow manage to basically sum up their sound in one song, which works incredibly well at this point in the album. We are greeted with an all-out chaotic frenzy of hammer smashing riffs (yes it IS a Cannibal Corpse reference), piercing shrieks and blast beats that could disembowel someone. This track is absolutely relentless up until around the three minute mark, where we are treated to some soaring melodic passages on the guitars that open up the soundscape a little more, and it honestly reminds me of some of Arch Enemy’s material.

“Source of My Evil” is up next, and bring us right back to the savagery heard earlier in the album. Blast beat and tremolo riffing galore, this song is a haven for any death metal fan. One thing that Kalopsia does so well is managing to play downright heavy metal with the precision of any classically trained musician. Their technical ability is made very clear on this song, with complex riffs intertwining with the drums and vocals perfectly. The guitar solo also demonstrates that further, combining pure speed arpeggios with beautiful melodies that normally people might feel is out of place on a death metal record, but in this case works so well.
With the previous track being brought to an abrupt end, “Surge of Terror” continues Kalopsia’s audio attack on the listener. The melodic guitar lines are brought back halfway through the track, and by this point has become a key staple in the band’s sound. We are also treated to another guitar solo that reeks of evil, less melodic than before, but still impressive nonetheless. The sound is then faded out before the track can end, leading us into the album closer.

“Bitter Sacraments” is the final track to the album, and right from the get-go, takes on an almost hardcore vibe, with a two-step beat rhythm that could have been pulled straight out of a Madball or Terror song. This makes for a nice change, and further shows how diverse this band really are. The fun two-step doesn’t last though, as we are thrown right back into the death metal melting pot thirty seconds in, with the return of those visceral low growls from vocalist Matt Medeiros and relentless machine gun double bass from drummer Justin Spaeth. Some of those Glenn Benton esque high screams make a return, followed by a very Deicide sounding guitar solo, which scores a lot of points in my book. The track closes with sludgy drawn out riffs that echo out and bring the album to a fantastic close.

This album for me for absolutely solid. With a combination of fantastic musicianship, horror inducing vocals and some impressive technically proficient drumming, this album is a force to be reckoned with. The only thing that stuck out for me was the production. I would have liked to hear a little more bass and to make the guitars a little quieter. But despite this, I still believe this is a great effort. While sometimes death metal can become saturated by the sheer amount of bands in the genre, Kalopsia have managed to create a monster of an album that make them worthy of the death metal brand.

Rating: 9/10

Tracklist:
1. Destined to Return
2. As the Serpent Devours
3. Christened Upon the Slab
4. Not Peace but Pestilence
5. Scorched Earth and Blackened Skies
6. Source of My Evil
7. Surge of Terror
8. Bitter Sacraments

Total Playing Time: 37:05

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ-10iuzuuc

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