Aghast - A Wolf In The Kingdom Of Heaven
Death Metal
4 songs (19:23)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Goat

No one wept longer or harder than I did when word came out that fantastic London-based Prog-Death unit Corpsing had decided to call it a day. The Stench Of Humanity was a personal highlight of last year, and it promised many good things to come from the band. Still, English Metal is a curiously hydra-like thing in that where one head is removed, another grows in its place – Corpsing may be fallen, but its drummer Nick ‘Baron’ Plewes has lent the slightly gnarlier Aghast his skills, and there’s hope yet.

What’s immediately apparent is that Aghast isn’t a straightforward continuation of Corpsing, having existed alongside it since at least 2006 when the debut EP was released. It’s shocking that the band hasn’t been signed in the two years since – come on, Candlelight, Earache, have you gone deaf over there?! The ambition present here is simply astonishing, elements of everything from Black Metal to Hardcore present and correct, absorbed fully into the band’s murky assault. Forced To Kneel kicks things off with a Christopher Walken sample, a mid-paced Grind riff shifting into pure Sludge, catchy breakdowns changing pace constantly with vocalist James’ snarls and screeches storming out over the top of some excellent riffing from guitarists Ryan and Christiaan. Technical trills and frills take this above and beyond the call of duty, and many of the more mainstream Death Metal bands would kill to capture the catchiness of the last minute that doesn’t compromise on the heaviness one bit.

Assume The Position takes a slightly Thrashier route for its opening before surging into a chaotic storm of Death Metal madness. Again, plenty of technicalities here, especially from the drumming stool (in case you haven’t realised by now, Baron is an excellent drummer) and the manic energy from the riffing would raise the dead. It’s Chum where the real surprises come, however, starting in typically brutal fashion before shifting without warning into a Jazzy paean to an ex-lover complete with soulful clean vocals, Proggy instrumental section and over-the-top guitar solo. The chaos returns seemingly at triple the previous speed soon afterwards, and it’s a testament to the band’s skill even at this stage that none of it feels out of place in the slightest.

Closing track Mind Atrophy brings the EP to a close in suitably twisty fashion (epic choruses!) and as a showcase for the band A Wolf In The Kingdom Of Heaven works wonderfully, even if the title does feel ever so slightly contrived. Aghast clearly has what it takes - perhaps a teeny bit less reliance on typical Deathcore riffing to make things perfect - all we need now is a full-length that builds upon the band’s strengths and a label dedicated to pushing it to the general Extremist consumer. Viva l’Aghast!

Killing Songs :
Forced To Kneel, Assume The Position, Chum, Mind Atrophy
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Aghast that we have reviewed:
Aghast - Afterlife Crisis reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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