Longtime readers will have gleaned of my general distaste for the post–The Faceless tech death scene of modern times. While there are still a lot of cool acts out there producing great tech death that doesn’t stray into the territory of the growing dissonant/experimental death scene (more on this later), such as Origin and Archspire, there are even more bands jumping aboard the proverbial white fifteen-passenger van and opening up their very own, cash-only, cut-rate ramen emporiums. I won’t name names, but this is all the fault of Brain Drill. It’s gotten bad enough that the label of tech-death has become a troubling thing to see on the promo list. Enter Eschaton, who have painstakingly prepared their debut to appear as offensively banal as possible.
With album art straight from the canvas of the renown French painter Cliché and a production job handled by a couple of milk cartons and a bottle of Tang, Sentinel Apocalypse – dear atheist god, that title – seems designed specifically to make me as vehement as possible. While there are some nice moments across the first half of the album, like the harmonized leads in “Behold the Nexus” and a few interestingly syncopated riffs and Black Dahlia Murder-esque lines here and there in “Obligatory Conviction” and “Achromatic Reign,” the majority of this disc is produced-to-death garbage. Even the title track is bad, and at nearly seven minutes long and featuring countless riffs, leads, and breakdowns it’s nearly impossible to sit through.
Graciously, this album is just under 40 minutes long, and while it’s by no means a snappy and entertaining listen, another song or two would push it beyond the insufferable point. Also of note are the vocal and drum performances, or rather lack thereof. The screams on Sentinel Apocalypse make Thomas Giles look like Matthew Chalk. They’re as diverse as a Monsanto-approved cornfield and about half as robust, and $20 says the lyrics, which I really don’t want to ever read, make reference to Cthulu, ‘quantum physics’, and evil space-fairing races. To match this incredibly low bar, the drums have been heinously replaced with some pitchshifted bubble wrap.
Only a single album this year surpasses Sentinel Apocalypse in outright putridity of sound quality, and I haven’t reviewed it yet. The same guy who fondled the knobs on last year’s miscarriage of a Pillory record was inexplicably contracted to ruin Eschaton‘s music in the same fashion that he ruined his own, and the resemblance is striking. Sentinel Apocalypse sounds every bit as bad as Evolutionary Miscarriage; the drums were bought in large-resealable tubs at Sam’s Club, the guitars have all the elegance and depth of a day old bag of White Castle sliders, and the bass, while often audible, appears to have been recorded direct to MIDI and swapped out for a single modulated pluck track. Mastering quality is completely irrelevant here, since the production has so thoroughly compressed and swapped out every note that not even Colin Marston would be able to save it.
This album is bad. I do not recommend that you listen to it.