Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ancient Necropsy - Sanctuary Beyond the Infinite (2011; Nice To Eat You Records)

One-man Colombian brutal death stalwart Ivan Jaramillo aka Ancient Necropsy is back once again with his 4th album of unique, aurally-punishing and somewhat challenging deathgrind with experimental touches at times. Continuing in the tradition of having ridiculous cover art, SBTI's art features a menagerie of clusterfucked textures, distorted architecture and statuettes all preparing us for a mythological romp in the realm of brutality. The first song is a powerful, evocative and interesting intro piece featuring well-done cosmic sounding effects and acoustic guitar. "Limited Golden Keys to the Paradise" blasts off with a strange vocal turn for Ivan; slightly more understandable death grunts are emitted forth in rhythmic turn. The riffing is tight but paradoxically loose, and here begins one of my main issues with this. AN is basically known for writing tightly-wound but seemingly entropic, compact songs that build up and unravel in various ways throughout their usually short existence. On this album, however, it feels a bit more like Ivan is picking out and throwing away riffs without much forethought, and it makes the songs suffer for it, with each feeling like a strange combination of cool and uninteresting sections tied in by little guitar flourishes instead of superior songwriting.

It is undeniable that Ivan is a great composer, but a lot of these particular compositions are a little more experimental for him. The production also doesn't help the proceedings much; it picks up where Apocalyptic Empire left off with a hollow, mid-heavy tone that is biased towards clarity instead of brutality, but it doesn't at all slouch in terms of extremity. One thing that does, however, would be the drumming. It sounds like Ivan did the drums all himself, as Beto's ridiculous blasting seems to be less-than-omnipresent, a somewhat disappointing turn as I was getting used to his insanity in both this and other Colombian projects. Some slam breaks are really powerful and utilize this new drum sound for the better, but they seem to be forgotten about rather quickly and seem more like afterthoughts. I'm disappointed by this fact, but I can look past it because of the excellent riffing. The track "Journey Inside Of...", for example, is a really great cut of death metal sounding a bit like a rougher Decrepit Birth with a more deliberate direction instead of deciding to make like the Californians and toss out worthy sections for wankery. This is also one of the songs where the rhythm riffing is strong and doesn't feel disjointed. In the past, it's been basically an automatic pass for Ivan when he writes riffs that have no rhythmic interplay with the direction of the song, but on here some of them feel a bit too much like phoned in performances. Most songs also feel flat because of the aforementioned production. While the performances of every instrument are basically stellar and nearly incomparable, especially in South American brutality, it still feels like the whole package is a demo album that could use more finesse and work to match the attention to detail that is clearly put into the riffs.

I think I'm of the opinion that Deformed King's Mummification was Ivan's best work to date. That album's coy playfulness and seemingly irreverent disregard for conventional songwriting and album flow is practically unmatched in this genre of music. This album seems to want to showcase maturity, but feels like a step back because it also feels a lot of the time like attention was erroneously put into bizarre aspects. I still think I would rate it higher than Apocalyptic Empire, which was somewhat unimpressive to me despite being technically savvy. The second half of the album seems to be markedly superior, with the exquisite "Altar of Fire" and "The Gate Keeper of the Universe" being melodic moshers with excellent time-keeping and the quick, AN-patented hurry to them, which makes it sound like Ivan times himself on each track. "Revelations" sounds like The Chasm if they cared less about atmosphere and more about rushing forward with maniacal aplomb, thought its mid section is a plaintive and emotive atmospheric section that extends Ivan's reach beyond the realm of anything he's previously done. At the same time, though, it sometimes ceases to really be "brutal" shouldn't really care about that.

On its own terms, this album is a fuck you to stagnation but at the same time kind of keeps some trademark AN-isms intact, which is sometimes annoying and sometimes charming. It might even net him some new fans, but it isn't a new masterpiece in my opinion; more work must be done to streamline the songwriting and get it to the next level now that he's discovered his ability to be epic for a whole song rather than 10 second sections.


Ivan jaramillo said...
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Ivan jaramillo said...
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Ivan jaramillo said...
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Ivan jaramillo said...
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Ivan jaramillo said...
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Ivan jaramillo said...

good morning:
,/brother are you sure you are a reviewer?¿
you typed my song "journey inside of.. is something like decrepith birth?¿ and somethink like california?¿ are you crazy?¿?¿- no,no, .with that comment i watch you don´t know nothing bro. i´m sorry.

where did you catch this album?¿ in blogspot too?¿
because since you review my past album i watched. who is this guy.
well this is a proof who all the humans perceive the thinks in different ways.
but i think you must be musician and watch my shows before to write.,

this is not a plastic project, and in this album i didn´t to pretend to be brutal. first ask. you know i can answer your questions, don´t worry. \m/ ancient necropsy is another shit. beyond other stuff.
and i´m so proud of that. long life 666.

best regards!
att: ivancient \m/

Andy Phelps said...

Ha! Hey Ivan. To my ears some parts of "Journey Inside Of..." definitely sound a bit like newer Decrepit Birth, the way that riffs and leads are one in the same, but I like your work better overall because of the raw and passionate quality of it. Very epic sounding stuff.

I think Nick reviewed the last album, not me; there are two people working on this blog.

Anonymous said...

i am a fan of this album and this project, but i disagree regarding the supposed technical brilliance. there're some very strong riffs--and a great mood--but it feels pretty chaotic all around--- almost as if infested blood were loosely using time signatures.

and ivan, if you are reading: please do not include demo-level recordings as part of a finished album. 'the epitaph of the phoenix arising' is a good song-- i like it a lot-- but like those demos that injure katalepsy's 'musick...' and that demo song stuck at the end of no one gets out alive's 'like a lamb to the slaughter' (which is solid slam album, i'd like to see reviewed here) a song with inferior sound is not a great way to end an album, unless it is a bonus track.

keep up the good work--- slam-minded (who turned me on to this band) and ivan.