Haxprocess - The Caverns Of Duat review
|Album:||The Caverns Of Duat|
|Release date:||January 2023|
01. God Complex
02. At One With Time
03. The Infinity Paradox
05. The Caverns Of Duat
Come down to the land of the dead, where jackal-headed gods play prog death metal.
Don't worry! This band may have the same name as an Opeth song, but Haxprocess are far from an Opeth clone! In fact, other than sharing the band/song name and the "progressive" genre label, Haxprocess have almost nothing in common with Opeth. Rather than periodically switching between clean singing and harsh growls or blending acoustic guitar melodies with tremolo-picked riffs, this young three-piece band from Jacksonville, Florida, offer old-school-esque death metal doused in technical creativity. With an elegant collaboration between menacing buzzsaw riffs and intricately performed melodic guitar solos, Haxprocess take the listener on a journey into the ancient Egyptian underworld: the Duat. Here, the jackal-headed god Anubis weighs the hearts of the deceased against the feather of Maat. Those judged unworthy are consumed by Ammit, Devourer of Souls.
Now, I know what you're thinking. A US death metal band growling about Egyptian mythology? If this band isn't an Opeth clone, surely it's a Nile worshipper? Wrong again! While I'm sure the musicians love Nile as much as we do, their musical direction steers clear of that characteristically brutal, incessant pummeling. Instead, Haxprocess opt for surprisingly large amounts of easy-on-the-ear melodies (relatively speaking, of course; after all, this is still death metal we're talking about). For instance, after a groovy intro riff, the song "Phantasm" delves into a soothing ambience, while the title track introduces a harmonized melody even akin to Iron Maiden. The vocals remain primarily death doom growls, with the exception of an eerily sung clean passage in the background of "Phantasm". Overall, the satisfying old-school rhythm guitar tone reminds me of Morbid Angel's debut album, while the technical ambition and mastery of the guitar solos is somewhat reminiscent of Death's progressive phase. Still, despite me listing these different bands, I'm actually struggling to draw proper comparisons. Haxprocess display here a surprisingly fresh batch of death metal that expertly balances dark moods with beautifully performed musicianship.
Staying at a mid-tempo pace throughout, the album's catchy riffs are easy to follow for the listener (see, for example, the intro of "The Infinity Paradox"). They balance these headbang-inducing hooks with impressive, masterfully executed solos (especially prominent on the 11-minute track "At One With Time" and the 13-minute concluding title track). The guitar-work is intricate and nuanced, but, unlike some prog bands, Haxprocess don't lose themselves in the complexity. They don't over-do their musical skills and don't make a mess out of the highly technical solos. Entertainment lies in each song's highly unpredictable nature, with seemingly a thousand riffs leading the listener down countless rabbit holes. And yet, I never feel lost and my head is never spinning — every new direction that this album takes feels strangely natural. This sense of cohesion despite showing off remarkable technical creativity is very impressive for a band's debut full-length, and it makes me confident that Haxprocess have the potential to go far, wherever they choose to venture next.
||Written on 02.02.2023 by|
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