It’s been a few years since I first discovered Seprevation and they stole my attention with their brutal first album Consumed. At the time I kept saying if I had a band it would sound just like Seprevation, and ever since that discovery through the song “Slave to the Grave”, I’ve been eagerly awaiting what raging death/thrash bangers they would come up with next.
Enter their new EP Echoes of Mercy. The first impression is the cover art which evokes sci-fi and fantasy ideas. The more subdued colours exude a mysterious warmth which contrasts with the dark cacophony that it represents. The painting has an inviting quality that has you absorbed into its haunting landscape questioning the ethereal face that greets you from the night sky.
Opening number “Slaughterous” wastes no time in dragging you kicking and screaming into Seprevation’s deathly thrash metal nightmare. From the opening note, the music is sonically striking. The sound is much murkier with an underlying eerie atmosphere, reminiscent of the sound presented by Morbid Angel. The chorus-laden lead guitars give sound an almost old-skool death metal vibe that instantly brings the aforementioned DM legends’ (and key influence on Seprevation) classic debut, Altars of Madness, to mind as well as flavours of Nocturnus’ The Key. Musically “Slaughterous” begins with simple yet pounding thrash riffing that gets the head banging immediately. The slower chorus breaks down into crushing death metal territory exploring more varied time signatures before launching back into more intense thrashing and increasing technicality (particularly in the guitar solos) in the vein of death/thrash legends like Demolition Hammer and Sadus.
The trend of brutality continues throughout the rest of the EP with “A Fate Beyond the Flesh” blasting it’s intense thrashing at an unrelenting pace. “The Death Ethos” slows things down with its sludgy compound time riffing and deeper vocals. This doesn’t last for long before the intensity raises again and forces you to mosh.
The closing title track is the ultimate climax of Echoes of Mercy with its uncompromising blast beats and catchy yet crushing death metal riffing. The next section has an almost black metal vibe as the the heavily distorted guitars play hauntingly discordant arpeggios under the shrieking vocals before firing straight back into the blastbeats. The next section evokes the jazz-influenced death metal style of classic bands like Cynic and Atheist with its more technical riffing and prominent bass work before slowing down while the lead guitar soars above. Echoes of Mercy ends in a similar way in which it began, with final straightforward headbanging thrash riff that ensures your neck is well and truly wrecked before the 16 minutes or so of deathrashing mania is over.
Seprevation’s latest EP Echoes of Mercy is four tracks of undeniably brutal death/thrash metal. The band’s influences shine through, yet their sound remains their own and stands out among the sea of extreme metal releases emanating from the UK underground. In my opinion, Seprevation will rise as a major name in death and thrash metal and Echoes of Mercy marks another banging step closer to that day.