One of the best things about metal is its diversity. In a genre without much limits, there’s an endless landscape for artists to explore new theme’s and sounds.
References to ancient civilizations are common; bands like Kronos, Rotting Christ, Spartacus, Imperium, and Ex Deo are notable for Greek and Roman mythology. Ancient Egyptian themed death metal, however, tends to compose music using traditional instruments, like a sitar or bağlama, and writes their strings in a traditional Egyptian style combined with death metal. One of the most notable bands include Nile, but also Maat, Scrarab, and today’s band, Crescent.
Hailing from Cairo, Egypt, Crescent finally unravels their new album Order of Amenti, which was released February 9th via Listenable Records. It’s their most impressive release yet and manages to be a huge improvement over their 2014 debut Pyramid Slaves, which already wowed me.
After four years, this brutal death metal horde to improve on everything they’ve done so far. Everything that made the last album great has been amplified times five, and makes this record one of best experiences a metalhead could ask for.
Starting off with the guitars and bass, we’re shown that Crescents ability to write great riffs has improved by making them even groovier and technical. They implement classical Egyptian composition into tracks by having the string act as sitar, and even feature some Egyptian-themed samples in songs like Obscuring the Light or Through the Scars of Horus. What makes this album so vibrant is the fact that the regular strings (guitar and bass) often sound like classical Egyptian instruments, and when you combine that with of the best death metal song writing you’ve ever heard, it’s honestly incredible.
The bass is very present in the mix and adds a lot of gruffness to the record. The vocals are also incredible; Ismael Attamah isn’t afraid to steep into low gutturals, high screams, and even a combination of a whisper and a growl; kind of sounds like a loud exhale. I think it adds to the mystical aspect of the record, since a lot of the lyrics and themes focus on the dead coming back to life and rituals. The vocals and guitars really remind me of Hour of Penance, especially off of a record like Regicide, except Hour of Penance does a lot of chanting shout/growls. Nonetheless, Crescent pays homage to destroying your ear drums!
But under all these instruments, there’s the heartbeat that makes Crescent as brutal as it is. The drumming preformed by Amr Mokhtar is absolutely fucking crazy and drives this album forward; the other instruments are just trying to keep up! Tons of blast beats well over 200 bpm, diverse use of of different cymbals and fills, and earth-shattering double bass all make the drums an essential piece in the bad…and the best one, too.
I also have to comment on the production. In order to create the atmosphere that Crescent is going for, each instrument had to be loud, huge, and in your face. It’s so overwhelming; like a wave of destruction is crashing down on you and all you can do is embrace it. It’s fits perfectly, and Order of Amenti heavily relies on this production to create such a brutal record, especially where the drums and vocals are concerned.
Crescent also has the amazing ability to write songs that go past the eight minute mark and not have you bored for any second of it. Each track is about six to eight minutes, but displays abnormal levels of groove and brutality that envelopes the listener in the record; most notable The Will of Amon Ra, Sons of Monthu, Through the Scars of Horus, and In the Name of Osiris.
This is seriously one of the best albums I’ve heard all year and definitely one of the best brutal death metal albums I’ve heard all year. Crescent is very similar to bands like Hour of Penance, Nile, Suffocation (Pinnacle of Bedlam album), and Hideous Divinity. I’d check this out if you like death metal that will crush you like a tin can at the bottom of the ocean; Crescent is the musical embodiment of Apophis! 9/10.
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