Tenebrous Labyrinth, the latest EP from Denver CO, Pile of Priests starts off with a four count on the snare (thank you Death is Your Saviour by Kreator!) followed by a quick frenzy of a kick-lead blast beat section featuring a unique guitar riff that almost sounds to be floating in a storm with a higher-pitched note progression. The title track is a good indicator of what the listener is in store for with Tenebrous Labyrinth. Varying feels within the metal genre spectrum, tight playing from all three musicians, interesting musical choices that flow throughout each of the song structures, good production, and killer vocals.
The bass provided by Patrick Leyn, my second favorite produced element in the mix is keeping the low-end working well by gluing the guitar riffs in a lower octave and supporting the heaviness vibe providing the overall feel of many of the sections. The bass tone cuts through the mix quite well, and when the band cuts out for moments for bass breaks it puts a smile on my face. It’s always a plus for me when I hear a metal band not afraid to feature their bassist, because they are an integral part of any band and when done right can provide another deep level of tonal phrasings, harmonies, and the thickness every band requires to get the full spectrum of sounds.
Drumming-wise, Evan Knight’s playing is very tight and features phrasings that compliment what the guitars and bass are playing melodically by providing the groove and feel for the many different sections of each song. There are choices made on the drums that provide interesting variations to the main feels that aren’t always in the fills between different sections of the songs that help keep the listener engaged throughout the entirety of each track.
The guitar parts provide the necessary metal stamp for each song but don’t stop there. To simply put the guitars as a genre identifier would do injustice to metal’s main instrument (generally speaking). Evan Salvador is playing kickass riffs while making some sick chord progressions and melodies (Interglacial Departure I’m thinking of!). I love the outro to that song with the counter of the earlier heaviness lying in the lower dynamics, clean tone guitars and meditative vibe.
The delivery of the vocal lines, again by Evan Salvador, stand out as the EP’s best produced element. They are providing the low gruff tone of many death metal vocalists but at the same time with a slightly closer listen, the words can be understood! This is a huge plus for me when you can actually hear the words of a singer and the lyrics make sense from a storytelling point of view. Good tone with these as well, the layered harmonies on some of the lines brings back some Deicide style vocal moments for me.
Overall, check out Tenebrous Labyrinth from Pile of Priests due out on November 24th 2017 because it kicks ass all around!…….
Author: Derek Bean