Review – Sematary: Called to the Coffin

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Review – Sematary: Called to the Coffin
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Sematary: Called to the Coffin
Technical Death Metal
Self-release
January 12th, 2015
Release length: 12:54
Bandcamp
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Sematary was forged by guitarist Brenton Weir in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the project really picked up speed. Brenton moved to London in the United Kingdom that year, recording material for what would become the outing’s debut EP, Called to the Coffin. However, earlier this year, Brenton teamed up with former Eternal Rest member Chris Clark, who added additional lead guitarefforts to those compositions. With Called to the Coffin officially completed, and the project now a duo, it came time to make that three song available to the public. But does it maintain any of the original technical and Jazz fusion elements that supposedly became the foundation of the band’s initial style of writing, or is it more of a traditional Death Metal approach?

Called to the Coffin doesn’t contain any of those Jazz elements the accompanying press release states were in the initial foundation, but there is still a decent amount of technicality presented among its three tracks. “The Harrowing Autonomy” has a pretty steady groove foundation behind the main verses, not to mention some solid melodic hooks in the chorus, and even in the faster paced start that highlights the most intricacy in the guitars outside some of the bridges. The deep bass kicks and the slightly present click sound fantastic against the rest of the crisp, vibrant kit, suiting the largely raspy vocal approach perfectly. While infectious for the most part, come the three minute mark, it’s unclear if the timing is just off, or if the band is going for a sense of creepiness. The latter is suggested in the chords that follow, as well as the brief explosion of technicality that leads to a decent enough slam, but whatever the intention, that brief section just doesn’t sound right and interrupts the flow momentarily.

“Es Atmet” makes up for it with a crippling start, leading to some commanding riffs and drum patterns that, nowadays, would best be found on a Metalcore offering. The song jumps between that hint of authority and earlier furious speed, opting for an occasional segment of technicality that, like at the two minute mark, has traces of Progressive roots. It’s paced a little better than “The Harrowing Autonomy”, though it seems this recording gets better with each passing track. “Frozen Eternally” has some traditional Goregrind values to the guitars and overall presentation after the just about twenty second long audio sample introduction. The crushing guitars work with the deeper riffs, blending that commanding presence into headbang worthy hooks that can sound vile at times. It’s also a little more restrained, limiting the sudden jumps into complexity in a way that allows it to build naturally as you reach the climax.

Called to the Coffin isn’t the most impressive debut you’ll come across for a Death Metal group, but it’s still pretty good. The ideas and skills are definitely present, and it’s as if you hear it all tightening up with each passing song. With the power to be a mixture between Carcass and Origin, though the intensity of the latter isn’t always on display with this release, Sematary wind up showing they’re worth keeping an eye on. Unfortunately, none of the Jazz elements from the project’s birth that the included biography alluded to weren’t present. Had there been a little early Cynic thrown in, I can’t help but think Called to the Coffin would sound a little more unique than what we are given. But, overall, if any of the above appeals to you, then check out the group’s official Bandcamp page and grab Called to the Coffin as a “name your price” digital EP download.


01. The Harrowing Autonomy – 4:26
02. Es Atmet – 4:11
03. Frozen Eternally – 4:17
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Sematary

Digital review copy of this release provided by Sematary.