Execration – Return to the Void (Review)

ExecrationThis is the fourth album by Execration, a Norwegian death metal band.

I’m a huge fan of Execration’s third album Morbid Dimensions, and it even made the number two slot on my best of 2014 end of year list, so stuffed full of technical/progressive death metal goodness was it.

You could say that I’m quite excited by the band’s first new material since this exceptional release. So yes, it took no time at all for me to dive in to this one…

The first thing that strikes me about Return to the Void is that despite the same number of tracks as its predecessor it’s a good twenty minutes or so shorter. Fear not though, as this is largely due to two of the tracks being short interludes, rather than all of the tracks being fully fledged songs as on Morbid Dimensions, so it’s not as if the overall style of the band has drastically changed.

The essential components of Execration’s atypical approach to death metal are still intact, including elements of doom, black, and progressive metal. I’d say that the old-school death metal influences feel slightly stronger on this release, replacing some of the more cosmic and tripped-out vibes that Morbid Dimensions has.

The songs remain varied and non-standard, incorporating various elements of different styles into their overarching death metal-influenced framework. The band still know how to write highly effective and well-crafted material, and there’s a wealth of quality experiences and journeys to be had across the playing time, far too many to absorb in just one sitting.

As I know Morbid Dimensions so well it’s hard to truly say how this new release stacks up against it. However, after multiple spins of Return to the Void my impression so far is that despite the lesser quantity, the band have still managed to deliver on the quality side of things, and their latest album is definitely better than those of most comparable bands out there.

I’m extremely glad Execration have returned and are still a major force to be reckoned with. Return to the Void hasn’t disappointed. It remains to be seen whether I end up rating it as highly as I do Morbid Dimensions, but I strongly suspect that it will come close. Return to the Void really is that good.

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