Corpsessed came flying out of the gate like a foal on the front end of a quinella, ridden by a bug boy and pushing the Look of Eagles down the homestretch. Their debut EP, The Dagger & The Chalice, was a massive effort full of anguished, layered vocals, guitars ripping like saw blades and drums hammered like a Longbeard Dwarf constructing mythical armor of mithril in the name of Durin. That EP quickly vaulted them into the conversation alongside bands such as Teitanblood, Cruciamentum, Sulphur Aeon and Undergang. A mix of pacing and a plethora of vocal attacks led to a wide array of comparisons and promising predictions for just how high Corpsessed could soar.
After another brief self-titled EP, the band released their first full length, Abysmal Thresholds, which was, by all accounts, a step backwards. Well, you could argue it was more of a lateral move into a primarily different, newer style of death metal. Where gritty fast-paced riffs once reigned supreme, Corpsessed now wove terrifying, twisting angular attacks and swirling, chaotic rhythms. The pure grit of their death metal was gone, replaced by atmosphere and discomfort.
Contrasting with that style is “Paroxysmal.” Utilizing blast beats and burying the guitars on takeoff, “Paroxysmal” shows a more furious, dizzying take on death metal. While melody and subtle harmonies is still to be found among the mix, it’s not the primary focus. That is not to say there isn’t a solo, albeit subdued and nearly hidden. A ripper, there’s more of what made Corpsessed’s debut EP such a refreshing spin. Mostly, there’s grit—a bit of bleed between the instruments and the generally cohesive sound of a band in their true form.
For their behemoth of a closer, Corpsessed add reverb and chorus to the axes and drums, supporting them with the ambiance of cosmic space. At nearly eleven minutes, “Starless Event Horizon” represents a good portion of the albums run time. Fortunately, it delivers one of the most well-rounded and exciting performances on Impetus of Death. Though slow, it’s massive in sound and composition, using patience and structure to produce a cacophony of suffering. It is, however, an unsettling end to the album. Is this the direction that Corpsessed will head? Will their next album cover feature an obscured planet with many atmospheric rings and an asteroid belt hovering silently in the inky abyss of space? We can only hope not.
While it’s infinitely frustrating that Corpsessed won’t pick a style and stick with it, eventually making it their own, Impetus of Death certainly continues the theme that they can do almost any style of metal well. Only time will tell what the future brings for Corpsessed, but a blend of the grit they embraced on The Dagger & The Chalice would be a welcome addition to their more modern sound. Impetus of Death certainly has enough heft that it can easily compete with most death metal out there; it’s merely the perception of unlocked potential that disappoints. Regardless, fans of death metal will appreciate much across this album that they preferably listen to on vinyl. While it might not be smart to bet the exacta on Corpsessed, they’re worth a $20 bet to show across the board.