Album Review: Begrime Exemious – Rotting In The Aftermath

Album Review: Begrime Exemious - Rotting In The Aftermath
Reviewed by Sam Jones

For once, Canada is harbouring something on the more evil and sinister side of things. That something in question is none other than Alberta-bred Begrime Exemious, coming at us with their fourth and latest full length release: Rotting In The Aftermath. Black/Death metal really seems to be a slight rarity from Canada and so I was all the more curious to see what this record had to offer, considering how I saw plenty of marketing and hype in regard to what this album could deliver on. Formed in 2005, the band got a steady start to their career but it wouldn’t be until 2010 where their debut album, Impending Funeral Of Man, would finally be released. Since then, the band have slowly built a widening catalogue of releases including 2012’s Visions Of The Scourge, numerous EPs, 2016’s The Enslavement Conquest as well as multiple Splits and a Compilation. Now, another six years from their last record, Begrime Exemious return to give fans another slab of evil metal that, with hope, will ensnare and enrapture them once again.

It must be said that, for a work of death metal, the band have gone for a really approachable guitar tone for their sound. The general vibe of the band’s sound is one of death metal, a pacing that we can get behind, yet the overall soundscape is a surprisingly lenient kind. You’re able to make out precisely what is happening at any given moment, enabling the audience to follow along easily to their riffs and songwriting. Honestly, it’s a little refreshing to recognise an extreme metal band that don’t go for a super crushing vibe all the time. People who aren’t fans of the hyper heavy stuff could stick this record on and feel totally at home with it, knowing they’re not going to be subjected to anything too strenuous.

I find it interesting however, that the band have opted for a vocal presence that isn’t that commanding or demanding on the audience. Within the mix, the vocals have been considerably pushed back in the record. It’s abundantly evident that the riffs and songwriting are the primary focus for us, they’re the main goal of the band for our attention to rest on. In this instance, the vocals are the backing force. It’s as if they’re roaring at us from far away, yet there’s some small part of me that sorely wishes the vocals were more in my face. With the kind of streamlined and stripped down songwriting the band attack us with, a more forceful vocal delivery could have raised the ante of what they provide us with here. They’re clearly powerful and able to bellow from far away, but part of me hopes, in the future, they retcon this approach and give us a record that unfolds their full vocal capacity onto their audience.

Album Review: Begrime Exemious – Rotting In The Aftermath

Going along with the band’s straightforward approach to extreme metal, we also have the drums to contend with as well. What you’ll notice eventually, are the rarity of blast beats that are going on here. Blast beats seem to be reserved for particular moments throughout the record where the band are confident they are most required, pending on the songwriting. Even so, it took me by surprise by how light and raw the drums come across to us here. The drums possess this organic sound to them, as if very little has been done to them in the mixing process from when they were being recorded. With that said though, the bass drums provide the necessary kick in the lower realms of the record. The band clearly wanted there to be some kind of bass within their record, and the record certainly bolsters from it owing to how stripped down the band wished their sound to be.

But I appreciate how the band aren’t all about speed and the cleaner side of things, there are times when the strength of the band can really bare down on us. Tracks like “Infected Mind” can become a sudden realisation, after a few songs of conventional songwriting and stripped back soundscapes, that the band aren’t here just to play around and become a comforting force. The guitar work takes on a meaner, slab-like tone that still doesn’t feel overly heavy, but the general weight of its performance is amplified tenfold. It also demonstrates the band’s ability to change up the pacing from time to time, ensuring the record isn’t a wholly predictable beast. Tracks like these are important for such an album as they allow a greater variety to seep into people’s perceptions of the record in question. It also helps to slow the album’s pacing down as the crunchier and doomier aspect of the songwriting is given time to shine, elevating the band’s prowess for diverse songwriting.

In conclusion, this is a really interesting album in the respect that the band were clearly not going for a hyper crushing sound, when so many of their extreme contemporaries have been, and yet there are moments periodically where their songwriting is able to elevate itself into darker and more nefarious regions. While the vocals, I feel, could have been harnessed to greater capabilities within the mix, I will commend them for allowing the songwriting and riffs to be as easily followed and comprehended as they are. I also feel like this album could be a potential gateway example for people getting into the more extreme side of things, with how raw and straightforward the band’s approach to death metal is. There’s no fanfare or wild postulations happening here, it’s a very rooted and focused album that knows what it’s here to play and it merely sweeps you along for the ride. I think some will enjoy it, but I think others will also view it as somewhat sterile and safe. But that’s depending on individual perspective and tastes. Overall, this is a fine album and it did the job for me. Ultimately, I can’t ask any more of it than that.

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