Review: Reptilian – Perennial Void Traverse

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Norway’s up and coming OSDM stars are set to release their debut in April. Let’s take a listen and enter the void.

Edged Circle Productions has some very choice words with which to describe Reptilian’s debut album Perennial Void Traverse. Even though the Norwegian four piece is a relative newcomer to the death metal scene, the press release seems hell-bent on dispelling any notion that inexperience comes along with the release of a debut album. Phrases like “fluid sense of mastery” and “warm, totally human analog tones” are peppered throughout the press release alongside moments of intense descriptive overindulgence. Although my real-world job is to manipulate language creatively, I came away from reading Reptilian’s press release overwhelmed with the descriptive excess.

Okay, but why am I writing about the press release? I have an album to discuss, damn it! Well, I mention the excessive nature of the writing therein because I think it does Perennial Void Traverse a disservice. Reptilian play a brand of semi off-kilter death metal that, while dynamic, is very meat and potatoes. To my mind, their riff-oriented approach does not necessarily match the description of the overwrought press release. Nonetheless, the band’s debut does in fact rip and tear in the right places while sticking to the old school death metal paradigm.

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Perennial Void Traverse is a close approximation of what I imagine a slightly thrashier Disembowelment fronted by Martin Van Drunen would sound like. The songs oscillate between meandering funeral doom slowness and frantic death-thrash riffs. At points, the transitions between these opposing riff styles can be jarring, but taken into consideration after multiple listens, the abrupt shifts in tone and speed seem to make sense as the album on the whole is a chaotic listening experience by its very nature.

As mentioned, the vocalist reminds me of young Martin Van Drunen greatly; the vocal likeness is uncanny. So, if part-screamed, part-howled, part-vomited vocals are not your thing, then be forewarned. The unhinged nature of the vocals complement the band’s equally unhinged and chaotic performance. Even as I write there is pure, chaotic malice dripping from my speakers, particularly as I listen to “Transmigration,” the final song on Perennial Void Traverse and one of the standout tracks. The band foregoes their regular excursions into thrash territory and opts to slow it down for the entire eight minute track, which allows them to bring some of the more off-kilter elements to the forefront of their meat-and-potatoes death metal. The guitars snake in and out of reverb drenched lines that reek of evil intent, while the space that opens up with the slower tempo allows the sickening Van Drunen-like vocals to really shine through the void maliciously.

If I may just make one comment on the production, I would draw attention to the lack of chaos and space in the actual sound design itself. One would think that an album traversing the void might indulge in a bit more reverb and huge, spacey ambiances. While the mix is certainly solid, with all the instrumentation taking up the right amount of space in the stereo field, I cannot help but feel a palpable lack of “hugeness,” especially in the drums. This is a minor complaint, but for someone looking to truly enter the vast, uncaring, echoing void, the production on display on Perennial Void Traverse just does not convey that sense as successfully as it could.

I may not be the biggest fan of old school death metal, but I can certainly appreciate Reptilian to a degree. They bring a brand of familiar, yet rock solid, doom by way of death and thrash to the table, and they throw it down with a frantic and unnerving sense of style. Their riffing may be a bit too familiar at times, but it is undeniably confident on Perennial Void Traverse, as it should be. I can definitely see Reptilian rising through today’s old school death metal echelon right up to the highest ranks. Until that moment, just jam Perennial Void Traverse and head-bang the shit out of your parents/loved ones/co-workers/enemies/pets/complete strangers.

3/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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Perennial Void Traverse comes out on Edged Circle Productions on April 22nd

  • COAL ROLL

    It sounds more like sloppy music to me than artistic

  • Definitely sounds Entomby.

  • Dubs

    Solid review, dude.

  • Speaking of Disembowelment, has anyone heard the full Inverloch album yet? That one song that was released was rad.

    https://inverloch.bandcamp.com/

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      Only heard the songs that were released. They did put a smile of approval on my face.

      • Was there a second song?

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          Or was it only one song? Last song I heard from them was called “From the Eventide Pool”.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Oh yeah, there are three songs. The first track they released was “Distance Collapsed (In Rubble)”.
            Thanks for sharing!

          • This song sounds like it’s taken right from Disembowelment’s Transcendence into the Peripheral. My naughty bits are doing naughty things right now.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            They’re definitely picking up where Disembowelment left off. Looks like I’ll be getting this one.

          • Most definitely. This album is long overdue.

    • Old Man Doom

      I dig it way more than the debut that they put out a few years ago.

      • From the new tracks I’ve heard I have to agree with you. I consider Transcendence into the Peripheral to be a masterpiece, so this new material is really doing the trick.

  • Boss the Ross

    Nice to see Old Man Doom bringing the RIFFAGE! I will check these dudes out.

    Has anyone else listened to Altarage yet? It CRUSHES! I’m digging the is album quite a bit.

    • I’ve listened to it. Rill gud.

    • Nihl? About to

      • Hey, did you ever get around to listening to the newest Revenge album? I can’t remember if you did or not.

        • Yes, but like most Revenge albums, I don’t remember anything from it. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it, because it was awesome, it’s just that it’s war metal and unless I’m actively listening, it all blurs right through one ear and out the other

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Yes on Nihil, and yes it does. The murk… it overwhelms.

      • Boss the Ross

        Like sinking into a pool of sludge at the bottom of a pitch black cavern deep in the earth.

        • ..right after getting your oil changed way later than the recommended mileage, and the mechanic tells you how SLUDGY the old oil was!

          • Boss the Ross

            Sounds about right

        • CyberneticOrganism
    • Waynecro

      I listened to Nihil while I worked out last night, and I almost sank into the slough of despair that opened beneath me while I was doing military presses.

      • Boss the Ross

        Oh shit. Glad to know your okay. You gotta be careful when lifting in the void.

        • Waynecro

          Thanks, man. It was a close call. I nearly lost a shoe to an impossibly black pool of sludgy nothingness.

  • Dubs

    Maybe they could get the real MVD since he’s no longer with Hail of Bullets and have a twin MVD vocal attack. Then they should change their name to Reptilicus and really double down on the schlock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khRHxXtKuNo

    • CyberneticOrganism

      SCIENCE!

      • Dubs

        Not just any old science. 1960s SUPER-SCIENCE!

        • Pooptown Funky Booger Riot
          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I thought this was going to be a gif from Weird Science for a second.

          • Pooptown Funky Booger Riot

            Oh, definitely could’ve gone for that one! And of course love the theme song, because Oingo Boingo and stuff.

    • Dagon

      On the shlong?

  • Defintely very Aspyx sounding. The vocals and slow pace are contributing to that opinion.

    • Old Man Doom

      Almost made the Asphyx comparison in the review, but I didn’t want to name drop too much.

      • I think just mentioning MVD more than suffices.

  • DVRKBEVRD

    mmmmmm nothanks

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    Did someone say Van Drunen?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2iocxLR-6o

  • Dagon

    This is a great review, very thorough. I’m gonna check this out solely because of the Martin Van Drunen comparison. I love that dude’s vocals.

    • he’s a good reviewer, and thorough.

      • Old Man Doom

        Thank you, sir

      • Boss the Ross

        Would you slide your shorts down please?

        • Hahahaha! Perfect.

          • Boss the Ross

            Redemption for my lack of Sam Elliot the other day?

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      One of my favorite DM vocalists. From a technical point of view Asphyx’ music was always quite simple. Van Drunen’s presence is what makes the simple music sound spectacular.

      • Dagon

        Yes, he brings a lot to the table. The simple music behind it just makes the voice even more powerful. It’s simple but it hits you very hard.

        The comparison was spot on, by the way.

    • Old Man Doom

      Dude, the first time I heard him (in Hail of Bullets), I was totally turned off by it, but now I love those howl-vomit vocals.

      • Dagon

        First song I heard was Deathhammer. Love at first frog croak.

  • Sir Tapir The Based

    Completely unrelated (I is sorri): New Oranssi Pazuzu tickles all of my metaphysical erogenous zones.

    • i think this falls under the category of: the 3-4 bands that really excite you, so the mods will let it fly just to see a smile on your face

    • Pooptown Funky Booger Riot

      Good stuff!

    • COAL ROLL

      wow do I sure have some G,B U fodder for today. Time to die

    • DVRKBEVRD

      i got my preorder download today, LP ships monday

    • Eliza

      I just listened to it and all I can saw is wow. Can’t wait for it to be released.

      • Sir Tapir The Based

        It was released idag. The cd arrived today.

        • Eliza

          Thanks for the info!

  • Pooptown Funky Booger Riot

    Could’ve done without the first 1/3 of the song, but pretty fucking good after that.

    • COAL ROLL

      Great guitar tone, reminds me of the mighty contract

      • Solid track! Loved their demo from last year.

        • COAL ROLL

          I meant this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzeh7HFK-GM

          Edit: I see what you mean fuck it’s really time to just die now

          • Yup, very similar.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            did you two have thoughts on the new rotting christ?

          • Haven’t really heard it. What I did hear didn’t do much for me though.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            i havent spun it yet, either, but i wasnt ever a big fan to begin with

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I’ve never really gotten into or checked out Rotting Christ, even though that’s a killer name.

          • Some really great guitar melodies. It’s bit too melodic for my taste but some of the early albums are rad.

          • COAL ROLL

            Thy Mighty Contract is by far their best, even though the drums sound like a shitty machine

          • Pooptown Funky Booger Riot

            I’d say Kronos 666 is my fave. And loved their cover of ‘Lucifer Over London’ (Current 93). Tickles both my black metal bone and goth rock bone.

          • COAL ROLL

            Sounds to me like shit Soulfly put out in late 90’s -00’s.

  • Eliza

    I dig this kind of sound and I can get behind the atmosphere. I agree with the score.

  • Waynecro

    Really nice review, man. Thanks!

  • wild a.i.

    I dig it. Kind of reminds me of Execration, another awesome Norway DM band.