Dead Exaltation – Despondent


Indian trio, Dead Exaltation, make it their mission to rescue tech death from its self-indulgent tendencies and back into the circle pit of mayhem. It’s no mean task to unite those with brutal death metal (BDM) tastes and progressive preferences under the same umbrella group. For that alone, they deserve your time. More importantly, they might even pique the interest of the people who stopped bothering with new artists after the big four of thrash and first wave of Floridian death metal established themselves on the scene four decades ago.

What makes Dead Exaltation different to the thousands of other technical bands out there who have the chops and the chugs? You’ll know the answer to that after one spin of ‘Involuntary Emasculation’, which starts like Deeds of Flesh playing vintage thrash. Indeed, the main riff may even remind you of ‘Blackened’ by Metallica but with a bass volume forbidden to Jason Newstead. The finger-twisting guitar rhythms and drum accents take their inspiration from Atheist, but their determination to service your air guitar needs and bludgeon at the same time elevates them above their peers. Psycroptic fans will lap it up.

Every death metal band needs a gory song title, and ‘Coerced Sewer Ingest’ is up there with the finest. Yet the track also incorporates a steady groove among the fast tremolo picking and palm-muted triplets. The rhythm section in this band is remarkable. ‘The Psychology’ is Cynic playing BDM with a focus on clean major chords towards the end of the composition. It should come as no surprise that the rhythmic dexterity reaches jazz proportions before a bass guitar solo takes over. Now this is what we mean by prog metal. It’s unpredictable, exquisite and heavy at the same time.

‘The Transformation’ reminds us that Dead Exaltation can grind with the best of them. Think Dying Fetus with additional shred fills and a plethora of scale runs. The drummer’s footwork is as impressive as his ability to switch tempo in the blink of an eye. ‘Omnia Mors Aequat’ is the opposite. Here we get an introspective piece of expressive bass and esoteric guitar before they fly into a melodeath riff.

Unlike most prog metal, the concept to this album drops the existential navigation of life’s conundrums and paradoxes for unadulterated horror. Who fancies a nice story about a psychopath warden who runs a prison for innocent street urchins so he can feed them to his cannibal guards? Fear not if you licked your lips reading that sentence. The slithering time changes and grinding riffs capture the depravity of the narrative as much as the malevolent vocals.

Like Demonstealer, these Indian death metal fiends show the South Asian scene has a lot to offer. Whether you’re into Cattle Decapitation or Carcass, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 29/01/2021

Record Label: Self Released

Standout tracks: Involuntary Emasculation, The Psychology, Omnia Mors Aequat

Suggested Further Listening: Atheist – Unquestionable Presence (1991), Vulnere – Igneous (2020), Psycroptic – As the Kingdom Drowns (2018)