By Matt Hinch
I’ve come to expect certain things from death metal albums. I’ve also come to realize there are certain things I don’t want to hear on a death metal album. Much to my delight, From Forgotten Worlds by Vancouver’s Auroch is firmly entrenched on the “delivers to expectations” end of the spectrum. The box may not have a pretty bow on it but at least there’s no damage to the package.
When we open the box we find the contents to be quite reflective of the packaging. The album cover is dark and somewhat ominous. Devoid of light and sinister. And so is the music. The album is packed with the kind of circle headbang-inducing riffage my preferred style of death metal encompasses. They don’t call it breakneck for nothing. Not that the entirety is simply “go for broke” speed. Coming from thrash origins, Auroch brings the elements of that style in to the fold as well, at times galloping with apocalyptic horsemen. The speed is common to both thrash and death but there is bruising mixed with the blistering. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them mosh parts but those parts tend to induce that full body bang I employ much to my back’s chagrin (and lack of hair). Those tempo changes may be gut punchers but it’s a pleasurable pain.
Also common to both thrash and death metal are the solos. Well done indeed, but it’s hard sometimes to really qualify metal solos without Dimebag Darrell around as that measuring stick anyway. In addition to the more technical guitar work the dexterous solos enhance From Forgotten Worlds rather than detract from it. As if well executed death-thrash wasn’t enough if we look in the box again we’ll find that it’s lined with black. All aspects of the album are touched by black metal influence. From the mood to some swirling riffs to Zach Chandler‘s blasting drums, black metal seeps it’s cold fingers between the cracks. Nowhere is this more evident than on the vocals.
Co-guitarists/vocalists Sebastian Montesi and Paul Ouzounov spew their Lovecraftian worship in both bestial death metal growl and hair-raising blackened shrieks. The haunting howls and bellows may be largely indecipherable but anything less caked in blood and cobwebs just wouldn’t make sense.
Death metal is becoming such a saturated genre that a new band may feel the need to stand out by doing something completely off the map. But I feel it’s just as important to simply stand up. Auroch hold their own with solid chops, memorable riffs and killer vocals. From Forgotten Worlds