Album: Come Ethereal Somberness
Label: Blood Harvest Records
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: 8 June, 2018
Taphos, hailing from Denmark, are an unstoppable force of death metal fire and fury. Coming off of their re-release of their demo and EP as a compilation, Blood Harvest Records bring us Come Ethereal Somberness, Taphos’ first full length. I’ve been following Taphos since I stumbled upon their demo, shortly before the EP was released, and I’ve been anticipating this album for a while now.
Taphos deal in a fast-paced, riff-heavy death metal often with a corrosive melody underneath the assault. Come Ethereal Somberness is everything I could have hoped for in a full length after the promise of the early releases. The first thing to note is the production is much cleaner than the demo or EP. I can’t say it wasn’t missed, but I did enjoy clearly hearing all the subtleties of the music that may have been otherwise obscured.
The growls of Hampus Walgren, also on bass duty, have a howling and shrieking quality to them that lend themselves well to the menacing atmosphere. The dual guitar attack of Andreas Nielsen and Mathias Friborg is something truly horrifying and wonderful to behold. Ugur Yildirim does a marvelous job at the helm of the drums; packing the songs with fills and altering the sonic landscape with twists and turns. Together this four-piece create a debut full length that had a high bar to clear for me, and still left me impressed.
The atmospheric and instrumental tracks are the first I’d like to highlight. Sometimes I have overlooked them in favor of the meat and potatoes of the album. Letum is Latin for ruin, death, and annihilation, creating a juxtaposition of the rather quiet beginnings of the album, but by the close of the track it sounds as though you’re being ripped through a portal directly into a hellish world where Taphos reign. Dysfori, like its namesake, is a somber and short piece of hauntingly beautiful music. Obitum, meaning death, repeats the instrumental from Dysfori now with foreboding drums behind you as you are left in their world to rot.
Taphos pack in six all out death metal songs onto this album, broken up by the instrumental tracks. Three of the songs on this album became available early if you listened to the promo on Taphos’ Bandcamp. Impending Peril, Thrive in Upheaval, and A Manifest of Trepidation. Even that small tease didn’t quite prepare me for how much this album was going to blow me away. My favorite moment of the album comes in Thrive in Upheaval, which is already an incredible song; it contains one of the most fun build-up and release I’ve heard in recent memory. Ocular Blackness deserves a special mention as well for how ferocious it is while also being insidiously catchy.
Returning to the corrosive melodies I mentioned earlier, they slither in and out of the songs with such ease that you’d be forgiven for thinking Taphos has been around for a decade or longer. There is such a maturity present in the songwriting, everything feels very well thought out and placed exactly where it should be. Come Ethereal Somberness would be an incredible piece of music from a long standing band; making their relatively short time between their first release and this one all the more impressive.
Overall Taphos have crafted a truly impressive debut, and possibly my favorite album of the year. Taphos are death metal royalty in the making, and have set an incredibly high mark for themselves on their first full outing. Denmark has been putting forth some monumentally talented musicians as of late, and Taphos have a slot at the top.
2. Impending Peril
3. Thrive In Upheaval
4. Ocular Blackness
5. A Manifest of Trepidation
7. Insidious Gyres
Total Playing Time: 35:55