On The Deathbed Sessions, Sepulchral Curse deliver a follow-up EP to their excellent 2020 full-length album, Only Ashes Remain. The band features two members of Finnish death-doomers Solothus and three members of blackened doom band Yawning Void. Compared to the glacial pace of Solothus, Sepulchral Curse play a more energetic and melodic brand of death metal, showcasing their diverse influences. This EP immediately hits you with thick, heavy rhythm guitars, overlaid with fantastic melodic leads, and the well-mixed drumming of Johannes Rantala resonating through the album’s four tracks. The dual guitar work of Aleksi Luukka and Jaakko Riihimäki shines on this EP, and they deliver a host of interesting, genre-spanning riffs. The production is bottom-heavy, perhaps more than on Only Ashes Remain. Kari Kankaanpää’s fantastic vocal performance here is very diverse, ranging from the deep gutterals already familiar to Solothus fans, but adding a range of more hardcore-influenced shrieks.
The album starts off slow, with a doom-laden opener in Circular Aeons. The band then shift gears on second track, Harvesting the Bloodlines, really highlighting the group’s non-death metal influences right away, with a galloping drum intro straight from punk. This song has enormous energy and incredibly catchy riffs, and may be my favourite of the EP. The third track, Dystheist, has infectious lead melodies laid over yet more killer rhythm guitar, with a strong bass melody courtesy of Niilas Nissilä. The song starts out with a more blackened death-doom vibe than the previous two tracks, with this slower passage culminating in a truly epic solo. The song then takes a dramatic turn, with a whiplash-inducing tempo change into an almost mid-80s-Metallica-plays-death metal conclusion, which really fucking rips. The EP closes with a killer cover of Towards the Shrouded Infinity from Finnish death metal greats, Demigod. Overall, what I really appreciate from The Deathbed Sessions is the way that Sepulchral Curse show off their influences with each track and create a very dynamic listening experience. Having just caught Solothus on tour with Temple of Void here in Germany, I hope to also be fortunate enough to see Sepulchral Curse in the near future, because these guys rule. Pick this up for sure!