AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeö: Haxprocess – The Caverns of Duat

“AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeö” is a time-honored tradition to showcase the most underground of the underground—the unsigned and unpromoted. This collective review treatment continues to exist to unite our writers in boot or bolster of the bands who remind us that, for better or worse, the metal underground exists as an important part of the global metal scene. The Rodeö rides on.

Remember the good ol’ days when death metal came from Florida? Well, this power trio isn’t exactly of that age, but Haxprocess hails from the gator state all the same, looking to bring an amalgamated form of murky and progressive death metal to a set of speakers near you. With just an EP and demo to their name leading up to this debut outing, these Jacksonville journeymen have chosen to go big with their debut The Caverns of Duat, hiring famed engineer Pete DeBoer (Blood Incantation, Faceless Burial, and many more) for mix and master duties. Sitting amongst the same credits list of such powerful performers, and with a loving dash of other progressive influences, can Haxprocess carve a name all their own amongst some of the most hyped acts of meticulous modern death metal? Well, the road to Duat1 isn’t through a swamp, but will The Caverns of Duat leave your nethers drenched all the same?2Dolphin Whisperer

Haxprocess // The Caverns of Duat [January 13th, 2023]

Steel Druhm: Straight outta Jacksonville come Haxprocess with a very ambitious progressive/technical death metal debut. The Caverns of Duat is 45 minutes of mind-bending, string-slinging lunancy with a loose, adventurous spirit and chops for days. For an act this young and untested, what you get here is very impressive indeed, with elements of Atheist, Pestilence, Blood Incantation and Opeth careening into one another like a spectacular carnival ride disaster. Opener “God Complex” is a good introduction to their style, showcasing dazzling technical ability and razor-sharp riffs. It’s the kind of track that has you expecting big things, and there are many good things that follow, but the band’s vast ambitions exceed their grasp at times. The 11 minutes of “At One With Time” will leave you stunned by their talent, but it doesn’t fully work as a cohesive song. The same goes for the wide-ranging “Phantasm” which has moments I love but, at 9-plus minutes, the whole enchilada is simply too much for my mind to properly digest. Oddly enough, my favorite song is the 13-minute title track where all the talent comes together in a swirling maelstrom of madness and majesty with traditional metal flourishes as the icing. With all the technical ability on display, Lothar Mallea’s death croaks end up feeling one-dimensional and don’t add much to the end product. Some diversity in his delivery would go a long way to elevate the material. At their best Haxprocess remind me of a less whacked-out Blood Incantation, which is a pretty good place to be for such a young band. There’s great potential here. With smoother writing and focused editing, big things could lie ahead. 2.5/5.0

Saunders: The Rodeö is a fun time. While inevitable band slamming can occur when material is not up to snuff, collectively we dive headlong into these unsigned editions hoping to stumble across an underground gem or next big thing. Enter promising debut LP, The Caverns of Duat, from Florida upstarts, Haxprocess. The listener is treated to five weighty compositions across a 45-minute runtime. Haxprocess punch out ambitious old school progressive death tunes, carrying the nostalgic, steamy values of the famed early ’90s Floridian death metal scene, while wearing influences, ranging from Atheist to early Opeth, proudly on their sleeves. Opener “God Complex” is a playful, groovy, gnarled slab of technically proficient old school death, with twisty compositional quirks, though is relatively to the point compared to its labyrinthine, proggier counterparts. Elsewhere, Haxprocess flex their progressive muscles, indulge jammy psychedelic impulses, wild leads and slinky basslines, pummeling and grooving with rugged old school flair. Despite being an enjoyable ride, the album is rough around the edges, occasionally lacking focus and cohesion, while moments of derivation creep in. Haxprocess are adept at long-form compositions and generally pull it off well, but still could benefit from tighter editing. Faults aside, tracks like the robust “The Infinity Paradox” hit the spot, while the Opethian meets Florida death extravaganza, “The Caverns of Duat,” is a messy, engaging delight. The wormhole has opened for Haxprocess to further refine, define and expand into an entity worth keeping a close eye on. 3.0/5.0

Felagund: Another day, another opportunity for the horde of bitter AMG staffers to descend upon a young band who dare to create in the face of such vile critics. Now that I’ve covered most of the feedback we receive on this feature, let me say this: the debut album from Florida death dealers Haxprocess has me flummoxed. I just can’t get enough of that good old fashioned Floridian death metal. But they take it a step further, infusing The Caverns of Duat with hefty doses of thrash and prog. If I owned an alley, this would be up it, long run times be damned. “The God Complex” is the perfect opener, showcasing the band’s chops and giving a nod to Rushߵs “Natural Science” a mere two minutes in. “The Infinity Paradox” displays the band at the height of their powers though, delivering mighty riffs, head-bobbing groove and the kind of freneticism that does the song’s title justice. And there’s no denying the mega Maiden chuggery on “The Caverns of Duat.” But I’m still left with a controversial question: does this band actually need a vocalist? Hear me out. The vox are mixed so low, the gutturals so augmented, echoey and surprisingly sparse, that they (almost) always feel both untethered and unnecessary. Again and again, I found myself eager for the distant grumbles to subside so I could get back to the performances of these capable, evocative players. Is this good news or bad news for Haxprocess? Or perhaps just bad news for their vocalist? Only time (and the commenters below) will tell. 3.0/5.0

Itchymenace: Duat (pronounced Doo-aht), the ancient Egyptian underworld, is depicted in hieroglyphics as having a varied geography that includes rivers, mountains, and—you guessed it—caverns. The Caverns of Duat is an extremely fun slab of proggy death metal from prodigal death metalers, Haxprocess. Capitalizing on their native Florida sound, these talented lads descend into the realm of Osiris via evil riffs, complex musical passages, and plenty of guitar noodling. Despite its ambition, I found this to be an extremely fun and approachable record with plenty going on that’s worth paying attention to. While around the sump cooler I hear plenty of comparisons to Opeth, there’s much more to Haxprocess. The band offers up a range of musical influences from trad metal to death to dreamy progressive theater. “The Infinity Paradox” gives off Morbid Angel vibes with its chunky groove and hint of evil dissonance. It drags you through its own maze of torment complete with Azagthoth-ian reverb. With its shimmering harmonies and galloping opening riff, the title track harkens back to classic Maiden instrumentals like “Losfer Words, Big ‘Orra” that declare a main theme and take their time to expand on it. Every time I listen to this record, I enjoy it more. It’s a musical adventure that truly takes you thorough another world. For a debut from a young band, this feels exceptionally mature. They operate in long compositions and expansive time changes but never lose sight of the melody or where the song needs to go next. It’s a joy to discover new elements with each listen. 3.5/5.0

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The Egyptian underworld of ancient mythology. Now you know! – Dolph
  2. Note to readers: There appears to be a forthcoming press of this album through a European distro, Witches Brew. Because this is just a press from a distro, we still consider this band unsigned. – Dolph
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