Monday, April 16, 2018
Confessor A.D. - Too Late To Pray
Confessor A.D. of Strasbourg, Alsace France have put out their debut EP this year on Nihilistic Holocaust, a French label that has a habit of releasing worthy efforts in the death metal realm and who should be familiar to committed readers of Contaminated Tones. Too Late To Pray's five songs are of the no-slouch variety. The songs all coincide well, yet retain unique identifiers for those that enjoy their death metal skirting the boundaries between death, thrash, and black. Confessor A.D. has a distinct melodic vision which sounds classically or formally inspired. While the band is not afraid to attempt some less deathly elements, they never veer out of the metal genre.
The songs are sturdy and well composed and the recording and technical elements behind it are well done with every instrument given space in the mix. There is a defined focus on the bass in the recording to the point where I believe that bassist Aksel is the head honcho in decision making. He may for all I know have written the majority of the songs since he is such an anchor and including the fact he doubles as vocalist this is likely the case. The songs could be described as revolving around the bass lines, an inverse experience in a genre when the guitars are the main melodic instrument. He is fun to listen to, especially in "Endless Night," where his fills highlight throughout. The prominence of his bass performance is such that it negatively impacts the perceived energy of the other instruments and specifically Killian's guitars which don't sound nearly as invested in the music. Julien's drums and are standard C-grade average death metal drums.
After several listens, I'm not beholden to any of the tracks. "Deafening Confession" is a powerful opening salvo; it's distinct early Floridian style is appreciated during a period of time when the majority are coasting on the coat-tails of the Swedish and New York style. It wouldn't have made the cut for Scream Bloody Gore, but it wouldn't sound out of place. The more rocking "Haunting Enemies" goes for big chords and a doomier vibe, with a short stonerish solo section. It is the least death-metal song and stands out for this, possibly in a negative sense. "Hipster Killer" touches black metal influences but remains in the Floridian style for it's verse and bridge sections. A gravelly chorus with a ghoulishly playful theme is incorporated twice in the track to add memorability. "Silent War" has a phenomenal mid-section with a bass-heavy line that runs separate from the guitar melody and adds the depth of song-writing which I adore. It's my favorite on the record. "Endless Night" culminates. It's a thrash track but it's slower refrain sections bash through the fracas.
Confessor A.D. will have to decide where their style will take them, because they are caught now between several different voices in their music that aren't fully integrated into each other. I'm oddly fond of what they are presenting to me but it's not going to make me shell out cash for any future release unless they can get the intensity heightened and the urgency implanted into the recording. They have a chance to go for the style which Witchery have done so well, and appear to have a similar rock-n-roll attitude to their tracks and pacing. Seeing where Confessor A.D. drifts to will be a determining factor on whether they revel in underground adoration or shrink to a footnote.