Psalm - Manifest
Genet Records
Blackened Death Metal
6 songs (24:34)
Release year: 2008
Psalm, Genet Records
Reviewed by Goat

Starting off as a Metalcore unit, Belgian horde Psalm decided that the music it was producing wasn’t in line with the members’ extreme influences, and modified its sound accordingly. The result, in the form of EP Manifest, is a riff-heavy blast of traditional yet subtly experimental sounds that toy with the boundaries yet is proud of what it ultimately is: Extreme Metal, first and foremost.

The tracks here don’t really fall into any one genre, but straddle them all, stated influences ranging from Mayhem to Metallica. What unites these songs is the sheer amount of riffs that forms the backbone of the music, technical piledrivers backed by impressive percussion and vocals that switch between manic screams and epic, near monastic clean singing. What is less exciting is the release viewed as a whole – there’s little to unite the songs here other than the basic style, and it’s easy to imagine an album full of such songs becoming dull rather quickly.

For the moment, however, this is a pretty good EP. After the requisite atmospheric intro, Ecce Homo bursts forth like Meshuggah crossed with Satyricon, the guitars driving the song onwards without mercy. If you’re experienced in the area, you’ll be able to pick out the band’s ‘core roots, but it really isn’t a problem, as Psalm has nailed its flag to the mast, and the echoing clean vocals place this firmly on the right side of the boundary. Layers Of Impiety continues the assault, Death Metal structures swirling around the central driving snarl of vocalist Mastema, yet there’s something lacking, some missing spark that would make it a truly killer song.

Manifest ultimately reminded me of Chimaira, but a Chimaira driven underground and forced to listen to the underground Metal of the nineties rather than the more commercial side. Tracks like Exhortation and Paradox reveal a band that could become the very essence of Metal in the coming years, and being fair, any changes necessary will most likely be the natural ones between an EP and a full-length. If the band keeps up the good work and gets that album written, then more likely than not it will be an excellent listen. Until then, Manifest promises much to come.

Killing Songs :
Ecce Homo, Exhortation, Paradox
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