CORTEXIPHAN have spent a long time locked away in some secret lab putting together the twelve tracks that would make up their full-length debut album Iniquitous, which was just released. Currently unsigned (though not for long), the band is made up of Stephen Rose (guitars, drums), Niccolo Paracchini (bass), and Andrew Patterson (vocals). Two out of three are from Texas, the other from Italy, but the distance doesn’t mean a damn thing in the grand scheme of things, because they find ways to come together sonically. This is also a record where different things will jump out at you with each listen, so multiple spins are recommended.
Oh I’m sorry, where are my manners? You’re probably wondering what kind of band this is. Well, CORTEXIPHAN is Technical Death Metal through and through. I was already a fan of Patterson’s vocals from when I saw him play in his old band DESIGN OF DESTINY when I was living in Dallas in the summer of 2014, so I was obviously very keen to hear what he had cooking next. And he surely doesn’t disappoint on this offering, I can tell you that right away. I still wonder how he does it.
On the instrumental side of things, Rose’s guitar work is sensational, with some broad, sweeping patterns going on that will definitely get your attention, especially on tracks like opener “The Big Sleep” and “Drowning”. Not coincidentally, these were two of my immediate favorites. There’s also some amazing guitar in “The Valley of the Dark Lords”. “Solidus” is another strong tune, and you can really hear Paracchini’s bass going to town, at times mirroring Rose’s guitar lines. The drums go everywhere, and Patterson sounds like he’s summoning a fucking demon!
First single “Liquid” and next song “Man Made Plague” are two exercises in speed and technicality, and the band throws everything in their arsenal at you. My advice? Duck and cover, ‘cause you’re gonna get fucked up. Title track “Iniquitous” is definitely the most unique-sounding of all the compositions. It’s still tech-death, but something about the crazy guitar sound and overall arrangement makes it different from the others while still fitting in. I also love the guitar/bass interplay on “Convergence”, yet another killer song on a disc that is mostly full of them.
There’s a slow build-up during closer “Great Human Woe”, and the track lumbers along like a Sherman Tank mowing down everything in front of it before it flips a switch and goes all blast beat and riff-crazy. On the other side of the coin I liked, but didn’t love “The Lunatic Notion” and “Winds of Sorrow.” They’re not bad, they just didn’t blow me away. But “Son of Sam” sure as fuck did. Holy shit, this is definitely my favorite song!! The band swings for the fences and it pays off in spades. This is the tune I kept hitting REPEAT on more than any other.
All in all I think the guys in CORTEXIPHAN did a fine job on Iniquitous, and while I didn’t love EVERYTHING on the disc, and some songs hooked me more than others, there’s no reason why these guys shouldn’t have labels sniffing around sooner rather than later. And with a little fine-tuning they will be a force to be reckoned with. The musicianship is top-notch and the vocals are outstanding, bordering on inhuman. This is one of the better Technical Death Metal debuts you’ll hear, so I recommend checking them out.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Son of Sam”, “Convergence”, “The Big Sleep”, “Drowning”, “Solidus”, “Man Made Plague”