Egregore – The Word of His Law Review

Now, technically, Egregore’s full title is, ahem, The Word of His Law: An Address to Abraxas in His Time and Place, Through His Grand Viseer, Thine Pansychopompos.1 If that gives you any idea, this duo fuses their chaotic tunes with a shroud of supernatural haze that represents their occult nature. Punctuating aural punishment with layers of guitar, synth, and chanting, and undergirded by an unhinged aesthetic, you can expect your ears to bleed, but by, I don’t know, ghosts?

Egregore is a duo from Vancouver, consisting of members Essentia Collapse on “Architactician and Strange-Sight” and Catastrophe Saturna providing “Inexhaustible Wellspring of Non-Euclidean Conjurations.” The project’s history is shrouded in the mysterious and occult, its aesthetic and signing to the prestigious 20 Buck Spin mounting the suspense to a revelation of what exactly The Word of His Law offers. Previously released singles “Howling Premonition” and “Exfiltrating the Triangle” offer a glimpse of the insanity wrought upon ears with a vicious concoction of black, death, grind, and war metal a la Blasphemy with a healthy dose of atmosphere and opaqueness. While expertly balancing concussive brutality and scathing corrosion with blasting energy, The Word of His Law’s reach exceeds its grasp by a long shot, resulting in a gory splatter of uneven songwriting and directionless insanity.

In a lot of ways, Egregore wants to have its many cakes and eat them too. Intro “The Place & The Time” feels like a Carach Angren symphonic interlude, setting expectations accordingly, only to blast your ears out with a chaotic array only connected by its war metal intensity. In this way, “Exfiltrating the Triangle” soars in its dizzying dissonant tremolo that would make Plasmodium jealous before socking you in the jaw with pummeling riffs, while “Libidinization of Will Azothic” deals in synth overlays, ominous plucking, and creepy chanting that add the appropriately supernatural haze that injects an appropriately ominous patience to the pummel. Solos in “Howling Premonition” and “Libidinization of Will Azothic” infuses clarity when the chaotic dust storm of this album settles. At the end of the day, it is the patient songwriting that makes Egregore tick, making the acoustic “An Address to Abraxas” feel like an appropriately ominous conclusion that excites me for the act’s future – more than The Word of His Law does.

The issue with Egregore’s debut is that the tracks feel largely improvised. Transitions are largely absent, cohesive riffs are short-lived, and the wild dissonance feels like a product of incompetence rather than the carefully calculated sting that it could have been. And of course these guys are not incompetent, as the riffs and pinch harmonics would have been things of beauty – had they been appropriately fleshed out. To make matters worse, vocals are far too loud in the mix, and the half-hearted grunt that pervades much of the album overshadows an otherwise solid instrumental presence. “Reborn as the Word of His Law” is the best example of this, an absolute clusterfuck of jerky passages with awkward off-tempo grunts and Ulveblod-esque blackened unintentional chaos. Ultimately, with sloppy songwriting coursing through its black/death veins alongside kitchen sinks of scattered influences and melodies and shoddy vocals, The Word of His Law misuses its insanity for no gain. Its unhinged energy is a selling point, but compared to the intricately calculated insanity of acts like Amnutseba or Light Dweller, it more resembles the war metal mindlessness of Deiphago or Tetragrammacide.

Pretense can be a bitch. I was hyped for The Word of His Law with its emphasis on supernatural tones and opaqueness, but what I received was as put together as someone’s definitive explanation of the afterlife. While Essentia Collapse and Catastrophe Saturna have an impressive skill set with wild instrumentation and multifaceted vocal attack, Egregore lack the necessary songwriting chops to meet the expectations set by their intriguingly obscure premise. With jarring movements, aimless technicality, and putrid vocals to offer, the thirty-one minute pummel is excruciating. “Exfiltrating the Triangle,” “Libidinization of Will Azothic,” and “An Address to Abraxas” have their promising moments, but The Word of His Law is a train wreck whose only supernatural elements are the ghosts of the black metal, death metal, and war metal casualties wandering around, um, somewhere.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Releases Worldwide: April 15, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. Which almost hits my word count on its own.
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