Hot on the heels of BLOOD HARVEST’s compilation of the band’s first two recordings as Demo MMXVI & 7″ EP MMXVII, garnering widespread acclaim and heightening anticipation for their first full-length, at last arrives TAPHOS’ Come Ethereal Somberness. As a debut LP, Come Ethereal Somberness does everything it should: stay consistent to a band’s sound established on their demos whilst pointing toward new avenues. Here, TAPHOS do both, and then some.
Hailing from the same Danish scene as Undergang and Phrenelith, TAPHOS create a classic – and classically gutted – style of Metal of Death. Their first recording, Demo MMXVI, possessed a darkly thrashing sound highly reminiscent of turn-of-the-’90s death metal on both sides of the Atlantic, as resolutely Scandinavian as it was American, its filthy propulsion as palatably fresh as it was authentically ancient. On the subsequent two-song EP, TAPHOS’ sound becomes more world-eating, their songwriting aims more epic whilst not losing the raw fury of their beginnings.
Now, with Come Ethereal Somberness, they synthesize the two stylistic shifts into something both berzerker and epic, manic and finessed in equal measures. Indeed, TAPHOS are firing on all songwriting cylinders here, as the energy literally bursts off the charts but retains a sense of composure and daresay class rarely scene in full-blooded death metal. Hammering and hideous yet nevertheless invoking a clarity that never castrates their attack, the quartet render each of these seven central compositions (bookended by moody instrumentals) a story unto itself. Hell, the titles themselves tell that story – “Ocular Blackness,” “Insidious Gyres,” and the equally telltale “Thrive in Upheaval” and “Impending Peril” among them – and that story is horrific.