Cerekloth: In the Midst of Life We are in Death

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Cerekloth: In the Midst of Life We are in Death
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Cerekloth: In the Midst of Life We are in Death
Death Metal
Hells Headbangers
April 16th, 2013
Release length: 38:01
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Denmark’s Cerekloth formed back in 2008. The band didn’t waste any time, and was picked up by Blood Harvest Records for their debut EP, Pandemonium Prayers, which was released that same year. This was reissued through Hells Headbangers in 2009, which was met with a self-released 2009 demo.. Two years later, another EP entitled Halo of Syringes was released through Hells Headbangers, and now, two years later, the band remains on the same label to release their first ever full-length album, In the Midst of Life We are in Death. But, is this eagerly anticipated recording worth the wait, or has the increased production held it back significantly?

Unlike their recent Halo of Syringes, this release doesn’t quite capture the cold, dark atmosphere quite as well. It exists in a subtle manner that can easily be overlooked, especially due to the amount of washout over the cymbals. The rest of the kit sounds pretty good though, having a tight snap to the snares that sound full, and a strong click of the bass kick that ends up tuned rather low, coming off more like a thud during some of the richer moments. The guitars have a decent lower distortion that is sometimes laced with cleaner chords that can bring in a bit of a depressing touch, and the bass guitar itself is rather loud and deep. The vocals also have that mixture of decrepit enthusiasm at a level louder than the instruments.

Of the seven songs, only six are actually new, but they’re all pretty good despite the hindered atmospheres. “Praeludium + Born of the Void” is basically two tracks slapped together. About the first half is your typical instrumental introduction that carries a bit of authority to the groovey, commanding Death Metal being performed. Around the three minute mark, the music does go a bit slower, leaving behind much of the catchy material for the sake of the environment, and the layered vocals add a bit of intensity to the main verses. “Mesmerizing Holy Death” is one of the few atmospheric tracks to get it right. The bass sounds much more crushing here, which really helps to save the song next to the droning rhythmic drum work that crops up here and there. You also will encounter some random leads that play a few notes to incorporate a loss of sanity vibe, and a dismal touch in the held notes crop up towards the end to push this song a little further than others.

Given how little an atmosphere this album ends up with, the best tracks are definitely the ones that don’t rely directly on it for quality, which is sadly very few. “Within the Hollow Crowns” starts off a bit slow and has a slightly crushing tone, but then shifts to some mid-tempo riffs that carry a strong groove to them that will have your head bobbing along instinctively. There are some slightly melodic passages that give off a hint of a haunting glow, but it’s the faster, far more aggressive sections that really stand out the most. “When Outcast Become Kings” finds its share of slower material, but the vocals are layered a little more to give a truly monstrous sounding performance. When the material picks up, the burdening approach does go away a bit, leading to some more infectious headbanging material that ends up littered with blasting drums and a haunting guitar solo.

Then you have the one rehashed track, “Halo of Syringes,” a re-recorded version that is cut down by forty-seven seconds. This rendition of the grim, haunting entry isn’t quite as emotional or burdening. Infact, the pace seems to be picked up a bit, which would contribute to the shorter track length. Overall, it isn’t bad, but the sharper production quality here really does remove some of the bite and effectiveness in the atmospheric guitars. The song itself is still pretty good, but just doesn’t have the same impact anymore, which really is a shame.

In the Midst of Life We Are in Death isn’t quite as effective as the previous two Cerekloth EPs, largely due to how crisp the production ends up being, and a lack of the cold, grim atmosphere fans have become accustomed to. However, it is still a good album, with some songs standing out better than others. The biggest issue really becomes the washed out cymbals though, as they are incredibly hard to ignore. Sometimes the ones in the background are not a problem, but the ones at the forefront of the mix are obnoxious, and constantly in use. All that being said, if you’re still looking for a solid Death Metal album, In the Midst of Life We are in Death is definitely worth sampling first before running out or ordering it, even if you are a current Cerekloth fan. This isn’t a bad album, but there’s enough to make you slide this release down a few notches on your must purchase list.

01. Praeludium + Born of the Void – 7:36
02. Within the Hollow Crown – 3:42
03. Halo of Syringes – 6:49
04. Nest of Disease – 4:00
05. Mesmerizing Holy Death – 5:15
06. When Outcast Become Kings – 3:33
07. The Reapers Instant Is Our Eternity – 7:06
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Cerekloth (band)
Cerekloth

Digital review copy of this release provided by Hell’s Headbangers.