Review: Echelon – 'Indulgence Over Abstinence…'

Not content with their ‘Down Among The Deadmen’ follow-up release, ‘Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!’ only a few weeks ago, the deadly duo of Rogga Johansson (covering all instruments), and Dave Ingram (vocals and lyric duties), are back with another project, the debut release from Echelon, ‘Indulgence Over Abstinence Behind The Obsidian Veil’, although it seems wrong describing it as a debut, given the music history behind these two gentlemen.

If it sounds dark, that is because it is, and superbly crushing, yet an engaging listen that utterly engulfs you, but not only is ‘Indulgence… ’ a superb listen, it’s moving and empowering also, with lyrics that I am personally able to relate to, in an exciting and affirming way. It’s rare indeed that an album reaches out to me in such a profound manner.

The production across the release is perfect also. You can, should you choose, isolate every aspect, such is the clarity, but it’s not overproduced. That essential Death Metal rawness is still there.

‘Indulgence…’ is an eight track offering covering thirty four minutes, opening with the superb ‘Adversary’. Slow, sinister riffing amidst the sound of a crashing storm and the opening line “Adversary, arise!”. The pace quickens, and the continuing lyrics, discreetly ambiguous, meaning one thing to some and something more specific to others, are clearly and powerfully delivered and set amongst a rolling rampage of Rogga riffs and lead breakouts.

‘Ever Forwards’ takes on a slower, deliberate, and precise pace, sinister and crushing. In this dark observation of an aspect of the masses, there’s some impressive lead work in the second half. Dave’s vocal delivery and intonation is quite exceptional on this album, and none more so than on ‘Carnal Absolution’. Rogga’s darkly diabolical riffs are ready to match them. ‘Cadre’, a statement, a warning, all delivered at an uptempo and engaging pace, and here I started to pay more attention to the drums. I am sure Rogga must have covered drums on many of his other projects, but I hadn’t realised how good he is until now, hammering out a d-beat with the best of them, and more.

On ‘Echelon’, punchy riffs and pummelling drums run alongside Dave’s brutal growl, but the balance which adds a dark edge, and emphasises everything, is the haunting repeat whisper throughout the track of “… of the echelons of hate” and once again more superb lead work from Rogga.

Title track, ‘Indulgence Over Abstinence Behind The Obsidian Veil’, has more dark, diabolical riffs and lead shreds entwined into its construct, in this dark statement, with the key comment within the chorus of; “Life, the great indulgence, Death is abstinence” inspired by the words of the great late Anton LaVey.

If the title doesn’t give all the clues you need regarding some of the idea behind ‘The Impious Of The Perverse’, the opening church bells will, with the initial opening riffs having a very blackened edge to their delivery on this dark, yet up tempo, offering, were Rogga balances intense, yet uncomplicated, riff patterns, with some excellent bursts of lead work.

Final offering of the release, ‘Regenerative Genesis’ is the wild card of the album, with a spoken narrative that draws inspiration from another, curiously, not a totally unrelated subject of fascination and inspiration to Dave, and if you can’t guess what it is, then you must listen to the album and find out… It’s guaranteed to make you smile.

‘Indulgence Over Abstinence Behind T he Obsidian Veil’, is the best so far from Dave and Rogga, but knowing their drive and their work ethic, the best is still yet to come. The album is out now on Metal Inquisition Records. I strongly recommend checking it out.

Review: Jools Green

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