Written by: Valkyrjia
Release Date: February 20th, 2022
Progressive Metal from Moscow, Russia
Label: Independent Release
Born in Moscow, Russia in 2001, members Andrew Ghostuhin (Guitars), Vladimir Lehtinen (Guitars/Bass), and Toivo Laine (Drums) started Epoch Crysis; what began as an experimental studio project of instrumentals quickly rose to surprise even the greatest extreme metal connoisseurs. Reborn in 2015 thanks to guitarist Andrey Gostyukhin, the band began to record vocals for some tracks that had already experienced a ‘second rebirth’, which they plan to rewrite and debut in the near future.
The album, “Rex”, initially released in 2011 is seeing a remaster that not only provides audio clarity but, a chance for old and new fans alike to listen to a band that not only pushes the subgenre boundaries of metal but, creates their entire own.
“Symphony of Ten Planets – Mars” exudes instrumental exploration with dark symphonics chimed away by flutes; giving us a sampling of what’s to come.
The second track, “Routine Glory” starts out with electronic elements that scream “space odyssey” style before falling into a ‘Metroid’ back track that keeps us side-scrolling in fear of what’s behind us. The remaster allows us to focus on the little notes of wind-like sound in the back, and smaller instrumental pieces from synthesizers with clarity. It’s an electronic epic that beats fiercely with melodic riffs and rapid double kickers that keeps you listening time and time again.
“Prehistoric Sun” is a cavalcade of deserted planet vibes fueled by electronic-style riffs in mysterious highs and lows. The speed works fluidly with the mixed instrumentals of guitars to synth, and harsh drums of varying intensities. It’s a ride through red hell with fire, demons, and the devil himself making an appearance. The remake cranks parts once muffled by distortion, drowned out but now clear, and enticing such as the ending storm of drums.
Referencing quotes from 1982’s ‘The Thing’ comes “Climate Fear” – a track that still stays in the mind, just as it did in 2011. The beat is hard to ignore; an easy headbanger with intervals of dungeon-crawling keyboards backed by frightful riffs. As we climb deeper through this remastered build of catacombs, the nods to amplifying subtle background noises to add atmosphere is not only effective but, admirable in execution. It makes it all seem like a strange dream, or an oldschool RPG with jump scares, impossible bosses, and exquisite soundtrack.
“The Incredible Adventures of Whitley Strieber” offers a nod to the incredibly talented horror writer with fearful nods of eerie background noise that intensify fearful keys and feverish drums. It’s one track that severely deserved an upgrade, and it does not disappoint. The fusion of horror atmosphere and speedy metal that boasts doom, death, and melodic elements adds great appreciation to a track that bows humbly to a Horror genius such as Strieber.
The track “Moon Generation” touches on fantasy and starlight while simultaneously splitting our skulls with endless riffs of varying speed and range. It’s a flicker of war in the forest. A battle of Elven glory against Demonic fury. Richly cut guitar solos are remastered to be clear, and loud as they were meant to be, adding a bit of finesse to an already wildly attractive track.
“Broken Heart and Guillotine” is wildly diverse in sound and level. Keys fuse with guitars to flow into a stream of limitless drums before electronic distortion breaks through. It’s a fury of sound and emotion from anger and madness to sorrow and confusion, endlessly circling in eternal battle. The audio fix is one that greatly comes through on tracks like this as it allows the division of sound to become more prominent and less muted in its execution.
My favourite track from the remaster is “Ablaze Within” – an extreme metal flood that touches on elements of symphonic and electronic to create a frightful atmosphere of pale grays, and cloudy, uncertain skies. Still it never loses its metal feel, bringing a smile to faces and a simple acknowledgement of ‘hall yeah, this is wicked!’ To me, it’s reminiscent of the rise of Guts in the manga titled ‘Berserk’, and his perseverance through death, betrayal, and hopelessness to truly feel ‘ablaze within’. Drums echo loudly and guitars shred seamlessly without dilution ins this rework that results not only in greater sound but, admiration as well.
“Dead Rule The World” is a heavyweight, once outdone by distortion and a feeling of water in the ears, now clear, weighted and ready to be enjoyed once more. It’s a decimator of the loud and downright gloomy, offering up piles of dragging bass, thick riffs, and heated drumming that leaves you salivating for more. Not to be repetitive, it levels itself with electronics for depth, allowing it to stay one step above expectations.
The finale is in “Forbidden History” – a track that is layered with instrumental variety and creativity. It flourishes with eerie drops, and sparse drumming before running wild with glorious shreds and rhythmic bass. It’s elusive with a ‘water temple’ vibe from the Legend of Zelda that’s both delicate and infuriating – truly depicting both. To wander aimlessly, to fight against the unknown and beat out expectations with focus and precision. The backing flute elements come out on top, less muffled and snowy, adding that touch of fantasy as necessary on a track titled ‘Forbidden History’.
The Bottom Line
Overall, this album as a remaster is a great revisit to near forgotten classics that can offer us feelings of nostalgia while displaying its own range of musical experimentation. Not only does it have the feel of an oldschool Castlevania, or Dungeon Crawler RPG but, it truly does remind us that even the expected can still come unexpectedly when you’re willing to take up a new perspective on an old relic.
Favourite Track: Ablaze Within