While another release from The 3rd Attempt wouldn’t get so much as a shrug from most metalheads, I’ve been fucking waiting all year for Egocidal Path. As anyone might be able to tell from reading 2015’s Born in Thorns review, I love anything Tchort gets his hands on. Be it Carpathian Forest, Green Carnation, or Blood Red Throne, I’m there. And being that the debut was a solid release of Nattefrost and Carpathian Forest-inspired black ‘n’ roll, I can’t help but get excited about the follow-up. While the debut stuck to the safe, classic black ‘n’ roll of CF—deviating only slightly in songwriting and vocal approach—Egocidal Path tosses aside some of the tried-and-true maneuvers for Kama Sutra-like expeditions. So, grab your gas mask and wrap yourself in barbed wire, it’s time to get sexy.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of Carpathian Forest black ‘n’ roll in Egocidal Path. Especially in numbers like “Blood, Dope and Black N Roll,” “Black Metal Alchemist,” and “Egocide.” But the band has taken the elements introduced on Born in Thorns and expanded on them. In particular, The 3rd Attempt unloads more melodic black metal riffage (“Reflections about Knives” and “I’ll Do It Now”), epic, building death chugs (“Egocide”), and relentless Blood Red Throne pummelings (“The Disciples”). Not to mention there’re many-a-bark, rasp, and clean vocal throughout Egocidal Path.
If you’re looking for those classic, layered/alternating CF rasps/barks on Egocidal Path, you’ll find them on songs like “Black Metal Alchemist.” If you’re looking for deep, deathy growls, mosey on over to “Egocide.” And if you need Ødemark’s “clean” yells and screams, hopscotch along “Into the Light,” “I’ll Do It Now,” and “The Oath.” Though none of the vocal contributions are surprising (especially if you’ve heard Born in Thorns), the arrangments and incorporations on Egocidal Path are smoother, more concise, and much more diverse than the debut.
But vocals are only part of a song’s success. And the top songs are “Egocide,” “I’ll Do It Now,” and closer “The Oath.” “Egocide” opens with a brewing storm, setting the tone with a dark, unsettling atmosphere. Then, the suspense snaps with neck-cracking Blood Red Throne chugs that grow throughout the song and have my head snapping to the end. The result is the most-complete song the band has ever written. Follow-up “I’ll Do It Now” is a close second on the album, using Ødemark’s sinister clean vox to the greatest effectiveness. But, that’s not all this song has going for it. After grabbing your attention with the chorus, the song takes a sharp turn—unleashing blackened death chaos and transitioning into a blackened thrash battery. From here, the rest of the album resorts to cranial total war, growing faster and heavier with each new piece. And, then, climaxing at the closer. “The Oath” takes the hint and cruises at 100 mph from the start to finish—never letting up, even when the desperate quasi-cleans arrive to add a final dynamic to this black metal beaut.
That said, there are flaws in this disc of obsidian. The riffs, attitude, and general badassery of opener “Blood, Dope and Black N Roll” can’t be argued, but it’s near seven-minute length is far too much. Likewise, the destructive, balls-out “The Disciples” loses some of its effectiveness by being about a minute too long. Though “Into the Light” and “Black Metal Alchemist” don’t suffer from the same bloatedness of their predecessors, they do suffer from mediocrity. Not to mention that the almost Peavy-esque (Rage) cleans in “Into the Light” stand out in a distracting way. Neither song is terrible but they do little to drive Egocidal Path forward.
As the final distorted chords of “The Oath” fade away, I’m rather pleased with the end result. In the end, Egocidal Path has the same pros and cons as Born in Thorns, with both records being a helluva good time. It could be a touch more concise and a song or two could use improvement or elimination, but it’s a great palette cleanser to all the deep, depressive black metal of 2017. If you like this style and crave a master of the CF riff, Egocidal Path is all the blood, dope, and black ‘n’ roll you’ll need for the rest of the year.