Saturday, 11 June 2016

Poisonous Bliss

Band: Qrixkuor
Release: 'Three Devils Dance' EP (2016)

Unshackled on witches' night, Walpurgisnacht, amid the clangour of Dublin's Unconquered Darkness festival, 'Three Devils Dance' is a cogent, unnerving offering of contemporary death metal.

An astute production allows Qrixkuor's now trademark, suffocating wave of sound bearing some breathing space, unveiling and allowing baffling riff structures and utterly accomplished drum work to waft through echoing atmospheres.

Channeling the attack of Teitanblood and the more introspective and aberrant countenance of the likes of Irkallian Oracle, the band's own sound and presence appears fully realised on this EP. In the midst of brooding, slowed eeriness, Portal-esque moments of black/death inversion give way to almost indecipherable war metal-like ferocity.

Never fully apparent in their live appearances, varying tempos are well utilised, avoiding boredom and repetition, but with this, Qrixkuor, on occasion, fall on their own double-edged sword, abandoning riffs and excellent song sections that could have lingered a little longer without causing any offence. An almost unfathomable amount of deft musicianship happens track to track, giving each song a veritable sense of a journey to the most profound depths.

In an arena now soaked with shrouded, reverb-drenched acts, bands must toil ceaselessly to lift their presence above the bubbling mire, despite the enjoyment the swamp and its denizens can provide. With this EP, Qrixkuor have truly bared themselves as a tightly-knit, focused act; those marvellously obstreperous guitar solos are granted leave to cut through multiple layers of distortion without losing the inherent intoxication of its tumult.

Wrapped in striking, evocative artwork and defaced with a mad monk's scrawl, the EP's aesthetics, crucially, buttress the labyrinthine, mystical fibre of its excellent content. The release's opener, "Serpent's Mirror", is the real standout track here, showcasing the band's best elements at work.

'Three Devils Dance' carries with it a real sense of the opus, a culmination of years of work, focus and refinement. It is a thoroughly talented outing, to the extent that the listener may wish its morphing, snarling content was a tad more elementary at times, but with multiple absorptions, its genius becomes more and more striking.

Rating: 80%

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