ECOCIDE "Metamorphosis" CD (Memento Mori 2023)
The long-awaited 2nd full-length by this Dutch band. Ecocide was formed in Haarlem by Sten Govers, Bas Gijzen and Rick Stikkelorum back in 2012, with Dennis Bikker joining in 2014. Their self-titled 2012 demo was basically Thrash Metal with a pinch of Death Metal thrown in for good measure, and lyrical themes based on H.P. Lovecraft, 80´s horror and sci-fi movies. Their 2013 debut album, titled "Eye of Wicked Sight", saw the band shift their initial Thrash Metal sound into old school Death Metal, taking the Floridian brand of Death, Obituary and Massacre, adding some Swedish inspiration in the vein of Entombed, Grave and Unleashed, pouring some Bolt Thrower heaviness, some Pestilence greatness, and throwing in an additional touch of Thrash Metal à la Slayer for a real homage to the golden days of yore, when Death Metal was memorable and riff-oriented to the hilt. The release of the album quickly attracted a bigger, international following, and the band started playing dozens of shows within and around The Netherlands. During these shows, they shared the stage with bands like Malevolent Creation, Sinister, Gorguts and the legendary Bolt Thrower. After two lineup changes, the band called it quits in 2015, returning briefly in 2017 to release a single titled "The Godhand", and then again in 2020 to release another single, titled "Sleeper". After releasing those two songs, the band remained dormant until 2023, when they announced their comeback and started working for the second album. Now, at long last is that comeback already ready, fittingly titled "Metamorphosis". Indeed, it´s been a full decade since their debut album, but Ecocide prove that album #2 could´ve followed swiftly after the first: the band stick to their guns and totally solidify their transformation into old school Death Metal par excellence. While thrash riffs still abound, they´re fully integrated into the whole, supporting an unbelievably era-authentic Tampa style that could´ve come out in 1991. Ecocide´s songwriting has also gotten stronger, shifting speeds with deftness and care, and placing a premium on earth-shuddering breakdowns. There´s always a linear flow to all that they do here on "Metamorphosis", even when the riffing gets busier and the rhythms kick into overdrive; for the latter, the kick drums in particular impart that timeless "tornado" effect that made many a Morrisound recording so classic. Similarly, the production across the album is clear, crunchy and classy, displaying technical finesse whilst keeping just the right amount of grit. And what to say of vocalist/guitarist Govers... Well, an exceptionally classic Death Metal throat, powerful in his enunciation and creeping you the fuck out! Completed by Costin Chioreanu´s horrifically abstract cover art, Ecocide make a grand return with "Metamorphosis". Let´s hope it´s not another decade for album #3!