Tuesday, October 4, 2022

EP Review: Renunciation "The Terminal Archetype" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Location: Moscow
Country: Russia
Genre: Death/black metal
Format: Digital, CD
Label: Brutal Cave (Portugal)
Release date: August 14, 2020
Recently, this Russian band contacted me about reviewing their material. Before checking out this EP on Bandcamp, I had never heard of them, but now I'm getting hooked pretty fast.
The fretwork on Renunciation sounds like a manic hybrid of Kreator, Death, and Cryptopsy, which can easily challenge many hard rock and classically trained guitarists if not outright put them to shame. The 2020 EP “The Terminal Archetype” combines black, death, and thrash metal with symphonic metal, grindcore, and several other underground genres layer by layer. Even though these are all well-defined genres, the band arranges their songs unhindered by expectations or restrictions, proving yet again that going outside aggressive/extreme music is not the only way to avoid limitations.
“The Terminal Archetype”, which includes two previously released singles as well as three new tracks, will obliterate your brain cells if it doesn't completely wear you out first. In the studio, Renunciation arranged their songs during intensive practice sessions, and delivered them like they knew exactly what they were doing. The combination of thrash undertones with death metal arrangements and black metal harmonies could end up a mess, but Renunciation pulls it off like they know exactly what they're doing. While the band formed in 2019, they play like they've been around for years.
The first thing that places Renunciation in a category by themselves is the brief piano instrumental “When There’s No One to Fear the Night” which has mournful vibes similar to My Dying Bride and Anathema, but with atmospheric keyboards likened to Emperor and Sirius suggesting something sinister looming over the immediate horizon. A moment later, “Deliverance From God” opens with a sound somewhat reminiscent of Mayhem that recurs throughout. Over a relentless thrash beat, blazing riffs jam 16th notes, and unapologetically fast and intense lead guitars match this unadulterated intensity and speed.
All the parts of this song are so tightly anchored that you wonder how they managed it. Over the years, the band members have played in several bands, so people can understand the experience that enabled them to write songs in such a manner as they do. Similarly, the title track with “Arrogance of Worms” and “Threshold (The Threshold)” grow even more intense and eclectic with each passing moment, almost reaching inhuman levels.
Lyrically Renunciation explores religion, non-religion, fate vs free will and science in a way that’s personal to them and reveals massive amounts of soul searching, observations about the world around them and study of human nature. As a result, the band's verses are as intelligent as the musicianship is progressive, and the band cannot be accused of lashing out at society and religion like young high school students, as many metal bands are wrongly categorized as doing.
For an official debut release, “The Terminal Archetype” comes closer to musical perfection than most debut releases, and things can only improve for them with time. Renunciation is certainly a band to watch for toward the end of 2022 and beyond. The band likewise released an instrumental version of this EP. It can be streamed at Bandcamp along with their most recent single “To Separate the Soul from Flesh”. –Dave Wolff

Demether Grail: Vocals
Alexey Kotov: Guitars
Vadim Kotov: Bass
Polina Archangelskaya: Drums

Track list:
1. When There’s No One to Fear the Night
2. Deliverance from God
3. The Terminal Archetype
4. Arrogance of Worms
5. Порог (The Threshold)

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