Though there are exceptions, by and large, the old-school death metal revival of the past half-decade or so has been primarily divided into two camps: those bands attempting to revive the spirit of Sunlight Studios, of Stockholm circa 1991, and those bands trading in the downtuned, doom-tinged and demonic strains of Incantation-worship. Britain’s Binah bridges the gap, brings the soul-crushing vile and evil heaviness of Incantation into league with the buzzsaw drive of Dismember and a dash of Bolt Thrower bulldozer for good measure. Still, that legend-laden description (while accurate) short-changes Binah by tethering Resurrecture further to the giants of lore than is necessary. Hallucinating In Resurrecture is a mature, confident, and promising debut from this year-old trio, one that easily sidesteps the “old-school redux” tag even as it clearly cribs from its influences.
Like that fancy restaurant that you and your significant other visit only on special occasions, Binah utilizes the same ingredients and the same approach to better results. At the base level, what they’re offering you is still meat and potatoes, salad and bread, but it’s prepared with a masterful touch by people who know how to make it great, and it’s presented with a irreplaceable atmosphere, and that’s what truly elevates it above the remainder. And it’s atmosphere that Resurrecture has, and in spades. Above the buzzsaw and the bulldozer, it’s the atmosphere that defines it.
Opening with the chiming instrumental intro “Into The Psychomanteum,” Binah wastes no time in establishing its eerie environment before “Morbid Obumbration” brings the death. Immediately evident is the band’s economical, open riffing style and that Sunlight tone, with Aort’s guitars slicing through above A. Carrier’s pounding drum patterns. Subtle keyboard pads add to the creepiness of the riffs and the unhurried mid-tempo pace, and the cavernous gurgle that introduces vocalist Ilia R.G. truly sets the tone. In that first moment, R.G.’s deep guttural oozes forth like it’s boiling up from the tarpits of Hell, and as good as all of Resurrecture is, it’s that pitch-coated performance that truly crowns these arrangements. (That said, the instrumental track “Eminence Of The Sombre” also shines – it’s important to note that R.G.’s vocals are stellar, but still, they are only the final piece of a well-constructed machine.)
Of course, even that performance wouldn’t matter if the tunes didn’t deliver, and in addition to combining the sounds of their influences into something at once indebted and distinct, Binah has also composed some damn fine death metal with which to deliver that sound. Though it occasionally picks up speed, most of Resurrecture treads by at a steady deliberate pace, and even when it accelerates, it still feels heavy and despondent. Its emphasis upon that atmosphere is amplified by its lack of blasting tempos, but even with four of its seven actual songs over the seven-minute mark, Resurrecture never drags, never tires. Two of those four tracks – “Morbid Obumbration” and “The Emissary” – are definite standouts, while the band achieves another stroke of crushing creepiness in penultimate track “Crepuscular Transcendence,” probably the best and blackest bright spot in of all of Resurrecture’s darkness.
Most of this recent interest in (ahem) resurrecting the sound of bygone death metal greats falls noticeably short of recapturing the past, and even some of those that manage to create something listenable or lovable are still firmly within the shadows of their forebears. By finding a space in the gap between legends of the style, Binah succeeds in creating a sound both new and old, with clear ties to the past but yet not wholly aping any particular classic. In that gap, they’ve found their niche.
Mind the gap, for it will swallow you whole.
Oh, and also, the band’s logo looks the same when viewed upside down, and hey, that’s pretty cool, too…