Skelethal and Cadaveric Fumes have been kicking around the French death metal scene for 6-7 years now, but only have a single full length between them (Skelethal’s Of the Depths…), with the bulk of both discographies made up of EPs, demos and splits. Both play abrasive, imperfect death metal, but their paths diverge with regards to how they construct and present their music. Heirs of Hideous Secrecies gives both bands an opportunity to play off each other and gain traction with a new audience, as well as show that the further you dig within any given genre, the more apparent differences become, even when numerous parallels can be drawn between two acts.
Skelethal churn out some downright dirty death metal, replete with the sort of gritty guitar tone that is typical of this style. Of the two tracks, “Emerging from the Ethereal Threshold” takes a more patient approach, with the slower pace allowing the hammering grooves to hit with maximum impact. “Torrents of Putrefying Viscosity” is far more direct, starting in overdrive and not letting up for its two minute duration. There is an intrinsic violence coursing through Skelethal’s veins, perfectly conveyed through the thick, chunky riff work and lively drumming, but there is little here that will see them stand out from the pack, especially in the age of the Internet where this kind of music is easily accessible.
On the other hand, Cadaveric Fumes serve up a more intricate brand of extreme metal that manages to cast a melodic yet disturbing aural incantation upon the listener. Their two songs have a rawness that differs from Skelethal’s material, relying more on the sharp, barbed guitar tone rather than the rust ridden buzz of their compatriots. Whereas Skelethal occupy every inch of sonic space with their guitar tone, Cadaveric Fumes give their music plenty of room to breathe, allowing the more technical playing to shine through. “The Spectral Parade” rocks along with a heavy dose of psychedaelia and possesses an inherent melodicism that is desperate to break free from the shadows, before inevitably being dragged back into the darkness. “Necromancy Sublime” is more distressing still; a more traditional, tremolo led death metal track with a lead that desperately spirals and ascends towards the light; and yet, the closer to salvation it gets, the more harrowing it becomes. They’ve evidently got a good grasp of dynamics and mood building, which is something that unfortunately evades their fellow Frenchmen.
Heirs of Hideous Secrecies is a decent split that gives exposure to two death metal groups that are working hard to succeed in an ever growing metal scene. On this showing, Cadaveric Fumes are clearly the more promising prospect, coupling interesting songwriting with a well woven, histrionic atmosphere. Skelethal do a fair job too, but I feel a lack of excitement when I hear their two songs. When it comes down it, it can probably be deduced to the fact that they peddle a style that is done better by too many other bands (both old and new) to really get any mileage from what they’re offering. Still, you can do far worse if you’re a fan of death metal, so give this a chance if you’re curious.
Find out more on Skelethal here
Find out more on Cadaveric Fumes here