With Return to the Void (Metal Blade) Execration deliver a 42 minute slab of dark and dirty European Death Metal, mixed with the single-minded raw aggression of Black Metal, and a sprinkling of Prog. This mix means there are some nice changes of pace and tempo throughout which allow the album to remain fresh even after many a listen. When many an album in the genre can easily succumb to the numbing effect of too much brutal music, Return to the Void takes a more cerebral and philosophical approach.
Opening with the shrill guitar intro of ‘Eternal Recurrence’, this soon gives way to a powerhouse performance of blackened death growls, Thrash riffs and relentless blasting. ‘Hammers of Vulcan’ is a tight composition about the Roman God, featuring some well-timed tempo changes which keep the listener interested. ‘Nekrocosm’ carries on this trend and introduces the albums more progressive elements, and underlying spacey feel.
‘Cephalic Transmission’ and ‘Unicursal Horoscope’ have a raw Black Metal feel to them, raw and unyielding, with riffs rattling along with a cold fury, both atmospheric and bludgeoning at the same time. Aside from a slightly dull section in the middle of ‘Unicursal Horoscope’. which could have benefitted from a bit more of their prog side, these tracks work well. By this point, though, it’s impossible not to get swept along with the momentum of the album.
Title track ‘Return to the Void’ lurches with some killer galloping Thrash riffs which at time left me exhaling sharply at the sheer aggression presented here: this is a real standout track on the album. Final track ‘det uransakelige dyp’, which translates to The Irrational Depth, ends the album by showcasing some of their more experimental and more overtly Prog elements, mixing up quickly with some of the faster sections on the album.
Return to the Void is a damn fine album. In an age where music isn’t always given a large number of re-listens, this is an album which makes it almost impossible not to listen to again and again (and again) and is definitely one of the stronger releases in the genre for the year.