Draghkar‘s new EP The Endless Howling Abyss is the one metal media outlets are going to be talking about in a few years. Not just because they missed it the first time around, but because everyone is going to be scrambling to catch up with the band when they’re a bigger deal. So maybe just stay at the forefront of modern death metal and get into the weirdness that is The Endless Howling Abyss now.
If I hadn’t looked at their Bandcamp, I wouldn’t have been able to guess where Draghkar was from. The raw, guttural death metal tones would’ve made me guess somewhere in the Scandinavian region, but then some of the vocals and drumming choices would’ve made me throw Greece into the mix. Though what was that? They’re channeling primitive Death-type riffs? Maybe they’re from Florida. All wrong – Draghkar is summoning their mutated corpse puppets straight out of Satan’s nightmares from the barren lands of Los Angeles, California. And summon they do, as The Endless Howling Abyss is a hellish ride into unspeakable torments never before beheld quite like this.
The Endless Howling Abyss is a unique listen for a debut album. The strangely alluring out of tune guitar unisons on “The Eternal Disintegration (Of The Body And Of The Mind)” almost sound like they’re transcribed from being originally performed on sitar. Then the Tom Araya-in-a-depressive-black-metal-band screams on “Fading Into Emptiness” might catch you off guard, but the operatic clean vocals at the very end of the track are going to make you wonder what vocalist and guitarist BW can’t do well. Even the smaller details on The Endless Howling Abyss are attention-grabbing, like the Discharge-meets-OSDM motion the drums give “Swallowed By The Dark.”
The Endless Howling Abyss is essentially a detailed mosaic in terms of composition. It’s perfectly enjoyable if you’re just listening in passing, but pay attention to the structures and musicianship within songs and you’ll be that much more impressed. Draghkar is smart enough to employ the plodding, raining stones intro of “Traversing The Abyss” only once, but the tail end riff makes for the perfect wrapup callback right at the end of its runtime. Again – it’s the little things that add up to make The Endless Howling Abyss awesome.
The Endless Howling Abyss doesn’t even sound like it was recorded in more than one take, let alone gussied up in a studio. It’s an album that isn’t trying to be anything but three dudes making the demented, progressive at times yet still completely primitive and classic death metal they hear in their heads. Of course, you can draw comparisons here and there between classic bands and sections of songs, but as a whole release, The Endless Howling Abyss doesn’t sound like anything else out there right now. It’s a weird experimentation that employs no outlandish instrumentation or manipulation, especially within in the genre. But it works so damn well, and to hear a band nail down a distinct sound like this right out of the gate is nothing short of jaw-dropping.