Updated: Jun 19
Via Metal Archives : "Although I was previously aware of and enjoyed Chthe'illist's first demo, 2016 was the year I really realized that Phil Tougas was a force to be reckoned with in the death metal scene. Not only did he release a fantastic slab of twisted Finnish inspired death metal for Chthe'illist's first album, but he had a hand in Zealotry's stunning sophomore album and released a bonkers tech death record with First Fragment. Surely this Stakhanovite work effort couldn't endure indefinitely. Flash forward to 2018 and he's somehow in even more bands, Zealotry has dropped their third album, he's on the first Cosmic Atrophy album in a decade and if that wasn't enough Chthe'ilist has dropped a new EP. I think it's safe to say that Phil will be a major force in modern death metal for the foreseeable future.
"Passage into Xexanotth" is the only original song here and it kicks just as much ass as Chthe'ilist does on the full length. You have the same twisted, groove-infested riffage, frantic drumming and the best slap bass in death metal this side of None So Vile. "Passage" keeps the hellish bizzaro vibes going, and this would make a great soundtrack to reading cosmic horror. While Chthe'ilist's detractor's will gripe about the similarities to Timeghoul and Demilich (and a handful of other Finnish death metal bands if they have a good ear), something Chthe'illist does that no one can accuse them of "DemiGhoul" worship for is the inclusion of classic 80's metal guitar solo here. This is present here, and the face-melting dueling guitar leads is Phil at the top of his game.
For the second half of the EP, we get a Crematory cover. Phil has mentioned this Swedish death metal gem in pretty much every interview I've ever read by him, and they're indeed quite awesome. It's a shame they never got to the point of releasing a full length album. The demo he's taking "Beneath the Crypts" from is quite raw and loose, and the production and technicality here is no doubt miles above the original. It doesn't make it any better or worse, it just makes it different. This is a lot more simple than the twisting narrative song structure of "Passage" and it's cool to see such different songwriting work perfectly side by side. While mostly relatively straight forward filthy death metal, "Beneath the Crypts" does have some of that off-kilter angular groove riffage Demilich would later become known for. I wouldn't be surprised if Crematory were one of Demilich's influences.
Passage was recorded over a period of three years and you can really tell the difference in production between the two songs. The original has higher production qualities and the cover is more raw. The production jobs work well with their respective songs. This is a nice little grab bag of quality material until the next album drops. This is one band where I don't give a single flying fuck how original they are and it's honestly becoming a tiresome debate. The next album is going to be a monster if this is any indication." 88/100
Originally written by Thumbman for Metal-Archives.com