Originally formed under the name Goretexx, Gorephilia is a Death Metal band from Vantaa, Finland. The name change occured back in 2007, while the band had officially formed back in 2006 under the original name. Over the years, the band issued two demo recordings that earned them a good deal of attention in the underground Death Metal community, and the band was eventually picked up by Dark Descent Records to release their first EP, Ascend to Chaos. Consisting of four songs and two instrumentals (both being introductions to the following song), the release features quality, heavy, and intimidating Death Metal from a band that not many have known, but for die hards of the purest, most brutal form of Death Metal, it will be a name they soon will know and not forget.
With the exception to the title track, each song on Ascend to Chaos is rather lengthy. “Intro” sets up a nice haunting atmosphere through background echoed screams and music that sounds like a march straight to your death. The music from the “Intro” bleeds into “Death, Chaos, Doom”, which is a muddy, heavy assault that crushes the listener with an audio blast of mid-tempo bruality that feels like a combination of the crushing, punishing atmosphere and sound one might expect from a Doom Metal album, just a little faster and soaked with traditional Death Metal chords that literally captures the essence of all three words in the title. The vocals are equally as crushing coming off with a very deep, snarling, almost primal gutteral approach that is simply intimidating and manages to show a little range with energetic bursts that seem random at times, but do work in favor of the music when they are utilized, adding more to the atmosphere of the recording. The slower pace mixed with somewhat complex chords, sinister atmospheres, as well as a fantastic guitar solo that matches the speed perfectly, all manage to keep this six minutes plus track fresh from start to finish to keep the listener attentive and at the edge of his or her seat. The song also throws a bit of a groovey curve ball your wall as the song progresses. This is the first of the five actual songs on this recording, and it essentially sums up the experience for the next twenty six minutes of the recording.
While the fact that much of this EP can be explained away solely in the above paragraph, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The band does manage to throw some faster material the listener’s way, such as some of the faster bridges during the song “Give in to Madness”, and it really shows the character the band has and that the group isn’t just a band that is good at playing slow, crushing music and that’s all. But, sadly, this is the only track to do that, leaving the album to feel like a bit of a tease in that department. However, the groovier closing track “Tower of Bones” manages to make up for it with the blastbeat fused bridge about three fourths of the way in that amps the intensity among the many natural headbanging moments brought on from the music of the song in the first place. The closing to the track, after the more maniacal and desperate gutteral shout turns into a back of the throat dying wail that trails off, really seems to step up some of the already established music though. The drumming hammers away in yet another marching fashion with blistering double bass kicks in a pattern, the guitars feel uniform and intense, and it all just becomes rather brutal right from the first few seconds, leading to a great finishing touch to the album that suits it well.
As mentioned, the production to the recording is a little muddy, and it does help the overall primal quality of the recording, and how crushing the music sounds. The only time it doesn’t work is in the higher vocals on later tracks. While the brief energetic input on “Death, Chaos, Doom” sounds great, “Tower of Bones” and “Give in to Madness” both have some altered vocal work with a rhaspier approach gutteral, and it work for the most part. The problem is that those vocals have a pretty strong echo to them, and in the long run they sound a little out of place because of that, especially considering how deep the regular gutterals are. Besides that, “Intro” and “Ascent to Chaos” make for nice little lead into their following songs, though “Intro” works better in that send and “Ascent to Chaos”, while it does bleed into “Tower of Bones”, doesn’t quite seem to work in that manner as they both are set up more like seperate entities due to the fading that accurs at the end of “Ascent to Chaos” into “Tower of Bones” when the latter overlaps when it starts.
Despite the few issues the EP had, and the very few fast parts that leave the listener craving more but never get it, Ascend to Chaos is a strong debut EP from the group. The music is simply punishing and soul crushing at times, and it’s clear that’s what the band is best at. The songs are solid and offer enough unique music and changes during the song to kill any repetition that may come up. If you’re looking for well done Death Metal, there’s no denying that Gorephilia will answer that cravingw ith Ascend to Chaos.