Album: Eksorsismo (EP)
Released date: August 17th, 2018
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Unsigned / Independent
Listening to Amaranhig‘s newly released EP, “Eksorsismo“, made me recall of countless old school death metal materials that have had the same aggression, great riffs, and good songs. With this recent release, Amaranhig delivers all the standard ingredients of a kick-ass death metal album — with all instruments blended together well and evil lyrics all written in their native language Tagalog — served up properly, yet in a twisted manner. While the band’s previous releases showed a lot of talent and potential for the group, this latest EP would really identify Amaranhig as a serious act in the Philippines‘ death metal underground. The sound in this material is tighter and their music is much more memorable all around, from the riffs to the skull-splitting vocals to the drums and everything else; this EP just kicks all kinds of ass from the beginning up until the last track.
Amaranhig, in my own opinion, are as purist (in terms of the music they play) and stripped down as a death metal band can possibly be, and “Eksorsismo” is the quintessential example of how forthright this Filipino death metal quartet is. There are no domineering over the top multiplex guitar showoff, no sappy fanciful vocal dispatch, and there are no pretentious pseudo-epic song structures; this five-track EP is a slab of raw guttural vocals, simple yet very effective drum patterns, and tyrannizing guitar riffs. In other words, this right here is old-school death metal down your throat!
Jon Ramirez had provided the tracks with haunting melodies and harmonies, and bulldozing riffs, which really comes a long way on this record. The dude may not be the most technical guitarist out there, but he still manages to pull out some incredibly original, full-bodied and intense guitar riffs. Listen to the songs and hear Jon unleashes a virulent shit-storm of riffs which will splatter the listeners’ innards all over the place. That deep yet lucid guitar sound in this EP really aids Amaranhig in sounding more malevolent and baleful. I’d also like to mention how awesome the solo part in track number one (‘Engkanto Diaboliko‘) is. That solo part in ‘Engkanto Diaboliko‘ is fucking wild and flailing, which was provided by a guest axeman from Mass Hypnosia; Karl Rosales. His solo has a distinct desperate flair and character to it, like the ones he displays when he is playing for his own band, as well as that solo part has emotion and structure.
Joey Magillano‘s bass lines here are also far more abrasive and corrosive, but it’s potent enough to drive home the themes of the lyrics (which talks about malignant and malefic entities demonstrating their dominion over humankind) and stands up to the rhythm guitar tone which once dominated Amaranhig‘s music a bit much on their previous releases. His bass playing is on point and supportive and he totally does his job perfectly. In some of the passages of the songs in this offering, Joey finds a satisfying way to bring the bass out of hiding. Hans Borres‘ drum work in “Eksorsismo” is unsympathetic, violently mad, and feisty. The guy may not be seriously talented, but his drumming is quite impressive. Hans can totally fucking destroy the listeners’ senses. His chaotic display of pummeling connects inimitably with the deranged riffage going on and is an integral part of the formula in this EP. To some, the drumming on here isn’t that much to brag about as the style is pretty established in the genre, but it did its job just fine so no complaints here.
In the vocal department, dispatched by Marc Barbasa, he does not use the usual full-on death metal growl you hear on most death metal bands out there, instead, the dude utilizes a more of a savage, sloppy bark/roar that is so fucking damn good and it works perfectly to their music. Some may not be satisfied and convinced of Marc‘s vocal delivery, but when you match them with the lyrics it fits together extremely well. The lyrics are all written in Tagalog and you may find it hard to understand if you are not a Filipino, but to translate the main ideas of the songs it all talks about the brutal and diabolical wrath of evil entities and brute demons who dispenses ballistic fury to the mortals dwelling in this fleshly territory.
Even the production of this EP is satisfying to me. It may be raw but not to the point where you can’t pinpoint the instruments. The production stands in that perfect middle ground where it is not overly crude and at the same time not absurdly polished. This kind of production allows the offering to maintain its evil aura but also lets the listener hear the articulate instruments and elements in detail. Amaranhig had surely managed to stay true to their influences whilst also putting their own little spin on this release. Another thing that I like about this EP is the ingenious and vivid cover art done by Jojo Sayas of Dark Arts Tattoos which totally portrays the whole old-school approach of the band. Just take a look at the cover art and it will precisely tell you what exactly you will encounter once you give this record a spin. The fucking artwork totally sums up the entire EP perfectly.
If you look for total old-school destruction in your death metal music then you can’t go wrong with this latest Amaranhig offering. “Eksorsismo” is a sick EP! It is sick enough that any fan of OSDM, whether past or present, should own it and take pleasure in its insanity. Every element here are consistently entertaining and the band had certainly delivered some great death metal tunes once again. I hope to see a follow up full-length for “Bagong Katay” in the near future, as this slab of straightforward, raw and ugly opus dubbed “Eksorsismo” had me craving for more Amaranhig materials.