Turris Eburnea - Turris Eburnea (EP)
Everlasting Spew Records
Progressive Death Metal
4 songs (20:13)
Release year: 2021
Bandcamp, Everlasting Spew Records
Reviewed by Goat

An international project comprised of Krallice's Nicholas McMaster and Cosmic Putrefaction's Gabriele Gramaglia, Turris Eburnea (Latin for 'Ivory Tower') is an experimental take on death metal realised and recorded during last year's lockdowns. It's a darkly progressive if not quite avant-garde take on the genre that doesn't forsake its dark atmosphere, keeping a churning Gorguts-esque base sound in the growls and riffs but putting the bass upfront and making it an essential part of the maelstrom to the point where there are moments like in Unified Fields which uses it alongside clean guitar strums virtually as a melodic counterpoint to the backing riffs.

Turris Eburnea have a complex, spacey sound even without the frequent touches of keyboard ambience however, and you have to listen closely to really interpret what can sound chaotic and random initially. Cotard Delusion is a good example and the most ambitious piece present, beginning with a dissonant death metal assault that strains at the structural leash, eventually breaking it to devolve into a woozily jazzy midpiece complete with barely-heard tinkling piano for the briefest of moments before returning to heaviness. A little later in the track there's a mournful violin layered in, just as briefly offering a counterpoint to the death metal spine. Both instruments are used very sparsely, barely enough to gain your attention before reverting to metallic heaviness, and so well-crafted is the song that it almost achieves a sort of catchiness by the end as it regains a stronger structure.

That's really the only moment on the album that could even begin to be called accessible. Generally this is heavy, intense music, particularly on closer Malachite Mountain which ups the tempo to a blackened gallop yet manages to retain an uneasily languid air thanks to the dissonant guitars playing against the rhythm section's wall of intricate noise. The only track that suffers slightly in comparison to the others is instrumental Syncretism Incarnate, which instrumentally is more than solid but feels as though it is lacking something when placed alongside the other pieces present. Still, even with that nitpicky detail this remains a tantalising burst of originality for the discerning death metal acolyte. Great artwork, too!

Killing Songs :
Unified Fields, Cotard Delusion, Malachite Mountains
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