One thing you can always count on from Transcending Obscurity is Grade-A kickass extreme metal. The new EP from AFFLICTION GATE, Dying Alone (January 5) is proof positive of that. It is also one hell of a way to kick off our first record reviews of 2016 with four tracks made up not only of darkness, melancholy, and pain, but also of strength and perseverance. Vocalist Herostratos growls his way through each number like a chainsaw cutting through trees. The guitars of Grief and Bobby take us through a sonic landscape that it is equal parts in-your-face and ripping, while the rhythm section of Laurent M. (drums) and Nico (bass) provide the mega-backbone a band like this needs.
“Negative Lucidity” could be nowhere else on this record but at the start. It is part song, part mission statement, telling all the metal world to get ready for what’s coming. With “Devising Their Own Chains” the riffs guide the song and there are some guitar leads that are massive. The tune then racks up the intensity, making it arguably my favorite. Title track “Dying Alone” is slow and stalking at first, Herostratos’ blood-curdling growls bearing down on you like the jaws of a monster, then snapping shut, sapping all your will, and spilling all your blood.
Closing this WAY too short disc is “Manicheism Inertia”, which is pretty much all speed, anger, and power, much like the opener. In short, with Dying Alone this band has returned with a vengeance. Anyone who isn’t onboard the AFFLICTION GATE train needs to buy their ticket now. And while you’re at it, go ahead and preorder the record so you have it on or around January 5!! Big thanks to Kunal Choksi, the man who does a thousand things at Transcending Obscurity for getting this one into my greedy little hands. I really hope a new full-length is not long in the making.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM