Rating:
N/A
Ævangelist - Omen Ex Simulacra
29 November 2013


01. Veils
02. Mirror Of Eden
03. Hell-Synthesis
04. The Devoured Aeons Of Stygian Eternity
05. Prayer For Ascetic Misery
06. Relinquished Destiny
07. Seclusion
08. Abysscape


Ævangelist offered us a great surprise with their colossal debut back in 2012, combining blackend death metal, harrowing ghosty wails and industrial touches. Later on, they released a not so good EP, and an excellent split with Esoterica (To The Dream Plateau of Hideous Revelation) proving themselves as one of the most inconsistent bands around. Now, moving on to their second full length album and much has changed since their debut; clearly, they have adopted a more mechanical approach this time around.

On their debut, these guys used a real drummer most of the time, but now drumming is done on a drum machine exclusively and it has a primary role in their sound. This is essentially where things start to get messy. Unlike their split and debut, Ævangelist fails to have a balanced mix of noisy/ambient moments to their extreme metal music as drums overwrites their non-metal elements since it is played faster than ever. This unfortunate mistake is accompanied with the fact that the drum sound is brought up too much into the mix, making this album considerably less layered. Additionally, when finally some noisy/ambient moments appear, they are not efficient.

Now clearly only extreme metal moments are left for me to enjoy, which sadly brings another level of disappointment. Unlike Portal, Impetuous Ritual, Abyssal and Mitochondrion who are playing harrowing death metal, standard metal instruments are not enough for Ævangelist to make good music as they get boring on their metal moments pretty soon on this album. Furthermore, while these guys clearly are trying to provide some sort of devilish manifestation, few melodic riffs are incorporated here and there which sound really cool and warm but also out of place.

Naturally, considering the short interval of time between this album and To The Dream Plateau Of Hideous Revelation, I got the impression that Omen Ex Simulacra is going to sound like the split. To be honest, this is not far from reality, as the approach is pretty much the same but something about the execution and songwriting is just not there. Omen Ex Simulacra is a disjointed amalgamation of sounds which is not only far from the band's best material in terms of quality, but also pretty boring.

Overall, this album was the biggest musical disappointment of 2013. Considering the level of inconsistency the band has shown us up until now, one can expect good things from their next album.


Band profile: Ævangelist
Album: Omen Ex Simulacra


 


written by mz | 05.06.2014


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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mz - 05.06.2014 at 17:44  
1st review yay.
!J.O.O.E.! - 05.06.2014 at 18:01  
This is probably the only negative review for this album on the internet

Disappointing release either way you cut it.
mz - 05.06.2014 at 18:10  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 05.06.2014 at 18:01

This is probably the only negative review for this album on the internet


This was the reason I wrote this review. Kinda sad how much praise this got last year, especially considering that it came out in the same year that ulcerate, portal, antediluvian and many other death metal bands published massive albums.
Diverge - 20.07.2014 at 07:04  
Hey, thanks for the great review (very well written and insightful). I'm just going to raise a few points here; we obviously have an enormous disagreement over how the album should be rated and I don't think I'll be able to dissuade you one way or another. I can only propose some topics for further conversation, conversation that will be fruitful because I see this album as indicative of where blackened death music might be going. This album has an obvious appeal to metalheads on the Internet, and the fundamental question is: why that might be the case? It could be that none of us know high quality dissonant music, or that some music fans are less particular than other ones, but I'd like to provide some explicit reasons why people might be enjoying this album. In doing so, I'm subtly arguing your review doesn't quite capture the spirit of the record in my eyes. Please don't take it personally.

So what is that appeal? Is there some rational way to articulate what these guys are doing, or is the music simply "a disjointed amalgamation of sounds"? Obviously the listener will make a conclusion for the second question, but I can address the massive appeal of the album. One thing you've noted with exceptional clarity is the mix of ambient/noisy elements that the band places into their music to create a mechanical atmosphere. They manifest their atmosphere using a number of interesting techniques, especially swiriling murky homogeneous riffs, very percussive drum machines, samples, etc. And surprisingly enough, as you've noted, they clearly don't give any care to the layers or the melody at all. Even when they are at their most melodious (Prayer for Ascetic Misery), the sickening groove is there for a minute and then lost quite soon after within the homogeneous textures. Why, you might ask, do they not care? Because the details simply don't contribute anything to what they want to evoke. It's entirely meant to be a relentless barrage of riffs and sounds that can barely be processed by the listener. The band uses elements to get a homogeneous, smothering atmosphere; it's meant to push the listener towards lapses of boredom, and it's a message that's being expressed pretty unambiguously by the band. And the drums being brought in the mix is certainly not a compositional mistake- it was absolutely intended and allows every part of the background to become that much trickier to discern. Blastbeats are certainly very effective in that mission, and if you listen to the album just listening to the drum machine you see that the beats are definitely not as rudimentary as you would expect them to be. The noisier moments are not meant to be efficient, providing the basis from atmosphere and leaving (except on Veils and Abysscape, I'd say). They linger and contribute to the stagnation, and again make the background far more tricky to discern. You do have a point in mentioning that some of the melodic sections sound out of place, but I can't say it detracts from my experience of the album. The fact of the matter is...this challenging album provides a nice framework for how to articulate mechanical homogeneity in music, and one that none of their contemporaries would have dreamed of composing.

So I guess my problem is that the objects you list as demerits or mistakes are not exactly so- they were fully planned and put to sound intentionally by the band, and we'd be foolish not to think so. You can see this in Benighted in Sodom as well- he produces a lot and explores new ideas each and every time, to mixed opinions. In fact, anyone who thinks the band's third album will be more like the debut or any of the EPs will be gravely disappointed. To me, the real problem with the album is whether or not this is an effective approach to articulating mechanical, homogenous, smothering atmosphere, and the Internet suggest opinions are quite mixed. To me, the clarity of production combined with the difficulty processing the music and the impulse towards boredom actually makes for a very enticing record. You want to put it on and see if you can discern even one more iota of what is happening, even if you're fully aware that work will likely take 70+ minutes if you have the extended version of the album. Again, please don't take my criticism personally, but do feel free to send me a message if you're open to chatting a little bit more.
Troy Killjoy - 20.07.2014 at 07:41  
Philosophy Hour at Metal Storm is now brought to you by Ævangelist. Who knew.
mz - 20.07.2014 at 19:14  
Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04




I know you were going to comment on this. First, thanks for reading and dropping the comment. Moreover, I quiet enjoyed reading your comment. Good to see that you enjoy this record and provide some interesting reasons for your disagreement. I am going to reply to some of your statements but first, note that you have listened to this far more than me (probably 6 times). Moreover, I have forgotten some details of this record because I had not bothered with it in long time.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

One thing you've noted with exceptional clarity is the mix of ambient/noisy elements that the band places into their music to create a mechanical atmosphere. They manifest their atmosphere using a number of interesting techniques, especially swiriling murky homogeneous riffs, very percussive drum machines, samples, etc. And surprisingly enough, as you've noted, they clearly don't give any care to the layers or the melody at all.

I don't think that they don't care. It is just that they fail to care about these matters properly.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

Even when they are at their most melodious (Prayer for Ascetic Misery), the sickening groove is there for a minute and then lost quite soon after within the homogeneous textures. Why, you might ask, do they not care? Because the details simply don't contribute anything to what they want to evoke. It's entirely meant to be a relentless barrage of riffs and sounds that can barely be processed by the listener.


I really don't see how the details are meant to have no contribution to the atmosphere they want to achieve. Why using them in the first place if they are not important? It's really an odd statement. First of all, we don't know what these guys were thinking when writing this album. I mean, how are we sure that they didn't care? More importantly, the fact (?) that they didn't care about the details could not be an excuse for the overall boringness of the album. I judge the music by the effect it has on me and not by the intention/purpose of the creators.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

The band uses elements to get a homogeneous, smothering atmosphere; it's meant to push the listener towards lapses of boredom, and it's a message that's being expressed pretty unambiguously by the band.


I can agree with this statement if by boredom you mean something like frustration. But the thing is that the music should be engaging. I personally needed to try hard and consume energy to not feel detached while listening to OES and it is not because of the abrasiveness of the sound as I've heard some stuff more extreme than OES in this regard. The thing is that all their attempts do not evoke any particular feeling in me.
Like many other musicians relying on abrasive stuff like noise, I conceive their attempts here to be extreme just for the sake of being extreme.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

And the drums being brought in the mix is certainly not a compositional mistake- it was absolutely intended and allows every part of the background to become that much trickier to discern. Blastbeats are certainly very effective in that mission, and if you listen to the album just listening to the drum machine you see that the beats are definitely not as rudimentary as you would expect them to be.


You might be right that the drums are meant to sound in this way (and I didn't say that the final outcome of this instrument were unintentional) but does it really matter? As long as I, as a listener, am familiar with this style of music and do not like how the drums are brought up, the intention of band does not hold any value.
Musicians might have achieved what they wanted. Good for them but my expectations from music is different than those. This is the reason we don't consider all of technical death metal records to be amazing.
Furthermore, are we really supposed to separate all the elements here and see that they are rudimentary or not? I doubt this. The whole package seems does not have good impression on me, and that's the only important thing.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

The noisier moments are not meant to be efficient, providing the basis from atmosphere and leaving (except on Veils and Abysscape, I'd say). They linger and contribute to the stagnation, and again make the background far more tricky to discern.


Again, I can't swallow this statement. If something has a purpose, then we can say how effective it is in achieving that specific goal. To be honest, I don't see these noisy moments functioning well for " providing the basis from atmosphere and leaving". They just sound like some sounds randomly thrown in mix of some parts.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

You do have a point in mentioning that some of the melodic sections sound out of place, but I can't say it detracts from my experience of the album.


I think we both agree that some melodies are strange in when seen in the overall picture. You don't mind them but they seriously seem like mistake for me. Not that I am not claiming that any "soothing" moment in extreme music which tries to be hellish should be eliminated. The Axis of Perdition uses such technique very nicely, for example.
Anyway, this is not the most important issue of OES so just let it go.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

The fact of the matter is...this challenging album provides a nice framework for how to articulate mechanical homogeneity in music, and one that none of their contemporaries would have dreamed of composing.

You are right that this album is challenging, but I think that the reason for my lack of interest in it is not this this. Like I said, I absolutely love omniquity and consider that split to be one of the best 2013 records (check my profile). Also, this might be true that not many bands are brave enough or have enough composing skills to write something like this, but again, it is not an achievement by itself.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

So I guess my problem is that the objects you list as demerits or mistakes are not exactly so- they were fully planned and put to sound intentionally by the band, and we'd be foolish not to think so.


I guess I have answered to this up to now.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

You can see this in Benighted in Sodom as well- he produces a lot and explores new ideas each and every time, to mixed opinions.


I did not check much from BiS. Partly because I generally dislike DSBM and partly because those tracks I heard were not interesting. Anyway, this is off-topic but I see what you mean here and why you are bringing it up.

Written by Diverge on 20.07.2014 at 07:04

To me, the real problem with the album is whether or not this is an effective approach to articulating mechanical, homogenous, smothering atmosphere, and the Internet suggest opinions are quite mixed. To me, the clarity of production combined with the difficulty processing the music and the impulse towards boredom actually makes for a very enticing record. You want to put it on and see if you can discern even one more iota of what is happening, even if you're fully aware that work will likely take 70+ minutes if you have the extended version of the album. Again, please don't take my criticism personally, but do feel free to send me a message if you're open to chatting a little bit more.


To be honest, I can force myself listen to OES again at all. Greatness of music can manifest itself in the total reply value of a record: something totally missing here. Every time I think listening to this again I end up going for their debut or omniquity. Nothing would have been missing from my life if they didn't produce this one.

Finally, I think that open discussion about this subject would be better.If you are interested, have a reply on this comment but I'm too busy now and can not have fast replies to you these days. Especially if your reply is going to be long =p

By the way, I liked your old name more.
Diverge - 20.07.2014 at 19:24  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 20.07.2014 at 07:41

Philosophy Hour at Metal Storm is now brought to you by Ævangelist. Who knew.

Haha I wasn't intending my response to be that long. But I was simply trying to express why the other reviewers on the Internet may have greatly enjoyed this album, which has been very poorly received on MS. I guess a review probably would have been a better, tighter response.
Diverge - 20.07.2014 at 20:31  
Written by mz on 20.07.2014 at 19:14


Good replies, mz. I'll give you two more comments.
1. I think we both agree that Aevangelist pushes extreme elements to the nth degree here. The overall impression you get makes you think it's just "extreme for the sake of being extreme", whereas I actually think the direction they are going is fruitful. I can see where MS users are coming from (I experienced similar frustrations), but I think many listeners have also found this to be an oddly compelling (even if unengaging) record. I was also a fan of the dynamic approach to mechanism they took on Omniquity, btw.

2. Like you, I judge music based on its effect on me. But I also take into account what the artist attempted to accomplish and how successful they were. Sometimes there are going to be compromises (I personally don't like what Esoteric does, for example, but they perform the style so successfully that I simply have to give it to them). And other times you fall in love with the whole endeavour (taste, approach and execution meet very nicely). I think you might have more of a personal investment in music, though; you know what has been effective in engaging you in the past, and judge albums relative to those high expectations. I'm far more of a sucker for approach and execution (ie. love Process of Guilt's Faemin album, even if their brilliant tribal approach tends to come at the expense of making the music uniform and fairly repetitive). For me, music certainly doesn't have to be engaging at all points; it operates independently of what I want and any expectations I might impose in advance. Provided I find the approach and execution to be interesting to think about in principle, I'm willing to go on any difficult journey (engaging or not).

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