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Label: Base Record Production / Hecatombe Records

Date: July 5th, 2023

Just for the future reference: Sending a CD from Spain is not the same as sending a CD from Ourense, Galiza, Spain. Not to me, anyway. I’m not being condescending. Far be it from me belittling a charming town in comparison to megalopolises such as Barcelona or Madrid. I would really give up a couple of Madrids for just one Ourense. Or Vigo, for that matter. Trust me, it’s not a joke. The time I spent in those two cities is something I will cherish as long as my memory serves me. Not least because of marvelous company of Irma, Juan, Txomy and Robert.

Call me a nostalgic freak, but when the envelope says that it came from Ourense, I’m all ears. Thankfully, this emotional rant stops right here, as Scent Of Death will have none of it. Unrelenting death metal is what follows and there’s no room for touchy feely kind.

After the quick surmise of the whereabouts of Scent Of Death, quick internet research brought to light the fact that “Into Everlasting Hate” is their third full length record. However, it’s the first in eleven years. And the third which mentions hate in the title. Built upon the debut EP bearing the name of “Entangled in Hate”. Fueled by hatred in definition, I suppose. Not that it’s a bad thing for a death metal band, but maybe a bit too much. The thing almost escalates when looking upon the band members’ photos inside of the booklet I noticed the word inscribed on Mr. Jorge F. Taboada’s guitar. Granted, English is not Scent Of Death’s first language, so the vocabulary can be an issue, but no such issue is apparent in the lyrics. These are successfully versed and verbed, even if not versatile in topic.

I don’t know why I wasted so much space on an irrelevant subject. It’s more of a quirk than actual problem. I’m returning to the point.

This quintet, as mentioned a couple of times already, delves in the realms of death metal. More precisely, technical and anti-Christian, only slightly blackened death metal. Like Deicide, but much more prone to tricks of musicians’ trade. Or a further straight-forward Spawn Of Possession. Immolation could be the most correct comparison, though our hero is not as “stubborn” with influences from overseas (Swedish traces of dark melody). On a more epic and monolithic note, apparent in just a couple of tracks (“Even the Angels Fall”, for instance), Belphegor influences shine through making for an atmospheric grandeur. Without the sadistic lyrical escapades, of course.

Basically, the opening track makes for an overall sum of what you might hear on “Into Everlasting Hate”. First of all, it shows the arrangements that the band will use throughout, with few variations. As for me, that’s a good sign since it shows some stability in a genre often devoid of even a hint of it. It also displays a group well aware that they are crafting songs rather than piles of hard-to-perform segments. It shows a solid construction upon which Scent Of Death can add “extravagant” decorations.

Which brings me to the point where the band (much like each and every other who attempted this genre) fails to convince me. The Spaniards push a number of neat passages that fall just short of being rendered further into catchy and memorable ranges. Usually by diving into a bit too complex crescendo. Truth be told, unlike the others attempting the similar spheres of creation, Scent Of Death overdoes it ever so slightly. Guitars, for instance, provide a number of decent riffs ending in a note or two that almost disconnect them from the rhythmic foundation of a song. Drums too, at times, seem as if they’re working too hard at finding space of their own instead of pushing the whole forward. Bass guitar is trying to show all it’s worth. Obvious musical prowess gets lost when the instrument closely follows the drum pattern instead of going for bits of creativity to enrich the material.

On the flipside, guitar solos are very much spot-on. Exemplary, I might add, since these are way too often used only to accentuate the guitarists’ skill. On this occasion, solos are executed in line with the intent of the individual song they belong to. They are skillfully introduced and blended within. Also, there’s not a shred of criticism to be pointed towards the vocalist. Heavy, strong and still discernible growling intersected with a couple of screams here and there. Convincing enough and clearly anti-Christian so that you are sure of the man’s feelings about the topic, even if he wasn’t the one responsible for the lyrics.

All that being said, it needs to be pointed out that I’m in no way a fan of technical extravaganza in death metal. All of the above numbered faults I find even in the most prominent representatives of the genre. What’s more, all of them I find much more subtle in Scent Of Death, making this combo even fairly appealing to me. If anything, there’s forty-one minutes of unmistakable brutality on this CD. There are a few songs that brought honest enjoyment. Namely, “Romans 3:23”, “Even the Angels Fall” and “The Mute Idol”. Real hard hitters though suffering from what I called faults above.

Nice touch to round up the picture of this album is the visual artwork. Okay, you can’t quite call painting a monster in a hellish surrounding original or innovative, but the devil (hehe, devil) lays in the details. Like the two hands of this six-handed devourer of souls being nailed. Or the single file of the damned descending into a tunnel opening shaped like the mouth of a screaming banshee in the bottom right of the picture. Very much a complete example of what route to the “eternal torment” might look like. The content within agrees with the front cover for the most part, though some inconsistencies exist.

Bottom line is that Scent Of Death might not be the most productive band around. Having existed for over two decades, three albums and an EP is a rather short discography. On the other hand, in a genre which garners technical proficiency, this is a wanted feature. You do not wish your metal maestros to push records one after the other purely to show how advanced they are with their instruments. Scent Of Death is not the best band either. They have their ups and downs, highs and lows, moments of epiphany as well as dull days. They are honest though, in what they are doing. It must be said that the group clearly doesn’t want to exceed in overcomplexity, even if they sometimes get there. “Into Everlasting Hate” is not a groundbreaking record, but it satisfies the hunger of death metal afficionados. I already spent hours on it and wouldn’t be surprised if it found a way back to my stereo.

 

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