Just southeast of arguably the birthplace of death metal’s greatest such as Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Mortician, & countless others; the Garden State and its adjacent neighbors are no stranger to the riff, simply put. Add to that list: New Jersey’s Weeping, a name all will soon be familiar with. An experienced newcomer to a tri-state scene already rife with hunger and aggression, this promising power trio made their stunning entrance in late 2020 with their release of the raw and stomach-churning 4 song demo, “I Don’t Hear the Angels Calling”, which generated much acclaim in the underground death metal circuit. After months of grapevine chatter and some masterful quarantine networking, the band has since made the infamous pilgrimage to the marshy swamps of Florida to produce their blistering and unrelentingly pissed-off sophomore effort, “Ethereal Suffering in the Light of God”.
With production of the new EP helmed up by none other than Hunter Young of Gatorland’s own Graveview (ex-Culture Killer), the boys were set up for success right out of the gate (which still manages to shine all the way through to my ears as I write this after dozens of full listens). The amount of overall sonic clarity in these mixes, combined with the organic delivery of each carefully arranged piece of work, serves to cement this EP’s place among the elite and furthers its ability to keep the audience craving more while also coming back to it again & again. I’d be willing to bet that a solid amount of this release’s replay value comes from the beautiful visual accompaniment in the form of Stewart Cole’s gruesome & grimy commissioned album art, depicting a seemingly skinless character immersed in an amalgamation of miserable & hellish agony (pictured at the top of the page). Brutal as.
In regards to the band themselves, each member brings something of vital importance to “Ethereal Suffering…” and to Weeping as a unit. With there only being 3 of them, one might assume there would be more pressure to constantly execute at the highest level of perfection due to a smaller sonic margin for error. And while that may be the case in a more technical, core-oriented project, old-school death metal like this is nothing without having captured as much of the degree of raw humanity of jamming together in a room as possible in the given recording environment.
Drummer Mike Blume (ex. Vale of Pnath, Nightmarer) recorded these 5 tracks with nothing but his own internal metronome for reference, making fill-segments in songs such as “I Watched You Cry…” feel as though the band transformed (if only for a second) into Satan’s Philharmonic Orchestra, the conductor of which sustains their fermata almost to give the reigns of time directly to the drummer. Vocalists Theo Vlahos (guitar) & Anthony Izworski (bass) blend together so harmoniously, but can stand out just as beautifully and clearly in the mix as individual voices in songs such as “Να Ζησεις Και Να Πεθανεις (Greek: ‘To Live & Die’)”. These elements not only lend themselves to highlight the character and musical stylings of each player as they occur naturally, but also in turn can transform a band into something much more musically relatable and accessible (not to mention less robotic in terms of its expression).
The lead single, “Heaven”, features an outro guest vocal spot from the record’s producer and aforementioned Graveview/Culture Killer mastermind, Hunter Young. Listen here (Visualizer Video: Austin Archey of Lorna Shore).
“Ethereal Suffering in the Light of God” drops Friday, May 21st. Cassettes are available through Frozen Screams Imprint and vinyl is available through Night Shift Merch. Don’t miss your chance to own a piece of the next big thing in death metal.
FFO: Dead in the Dirt, Gatecreeper, Dragged into Sunlight, Umbra Vitae, Graveview