From Finland we got this death metal act which formed in 2008 named Refusal. After a bunch of demo recordings with compilations to match they released their debut album in 2016 We Rot Within. The album was a solid one, the foundation was set for the band to stand on for further releases. Now with their follow-up album Epitome of Void in my hand it’s time to see if this will make them take another step in the right direction or not.
The first word that comes to my mind when I hear what Refusal offers is “consistency”. Sometimes consistency can be a bad thing, when an albums runtime is long it might mean it can become boring and the replay value of a “one-trick pony” in this case I mean the word in all its positive meaning. A big part of that is that the runtime of 32 minutes is just about hitting the sweet spot, while their take on death metal with hints of grind on the rotten cherry on the top hasn’t changed and it is a formula they are very happy driving forward with. I for one think this is a good move because as it gives them an edge for people who are tired of the same kind of old school death sound. I mean after a while your favorite pasta might get a bit boring you know? That’s where these guys comes in for me, they spice the pasta up a bit and hey now it’s almost like a brand new dish for me to devour.
The almost feral guitar riffs takes me back to the Entombed days on the opening track “Suffocate” (sometimes the album got a death n roll flair to it too, see “Disregard”), while on “Hectic” they showcase a bit more of that grindcore edge a la Napalm Death. If I had to pick the bands that’s closest to Refusal’s death metal it’s bands like Mörbid Vomit, Sadistik Forest (who dropped one of my favorite albums in 2018), Revolting, Galvanizer and even Skulmagot that comes closest to mind. This is the sound you’re going to hear during Epitome of Void, so if you don’t get hooked on it from the first few tracks then I don’t know what to do. As I mentioned before though this is their forte, consistency with their style that’s maybe not unique but it’s not done 100 times by new bands each year so it still feels fresh. That’s also the reason why I had a hard time picking my favorite song. Doesn’t matter if I pick “Suffocate, “Disregard”, “Slaves” or any other track because they are all great and got their own riff here or drum part going for them that I like. Production wise I think Epitome of Void does exactly what it’s intended to, it feels raw, got a lot of energy and the instruments and vocals are well mixed.
Epitome of Void has been an album I’ve gone back to quite a few times since it’s release in January, that in itself is proof that the album has a lot to offer. It’s one of the best death metal albums released in 2019 so far and a perfect example how you can do the old school sound justice while mixing it up a notch.
Written by J.B.
Label: Great Dane Records
For fans of: Mörbid Vomit and Galvanizer
Release date: January 11th, 2019
Favorite song: Disregard
Score: 4/5 Incredible