REVIEW: MAZE OF SOTHOTH – “Soul Demise”
Metal and horror have always gone hand-in-hand, ever since Tony Iommi bashed out his first evil riff in the ’60s. And no subgenre of metal has been so devoted to horror than death metal. Italy’s Maze of Sothoth are no exception – taking both their name and lyrical inspirations from the works of horror’s tentacle-obsessed grandfather, H.P. Lovecraft. Relatively new to the scene, Maze of Sothoth are gearing up to release their debut album, ‘Soul Demise’, on the 9th of January through Everlasting Spew Records.
Owing much of their sound to one of death metal’s most legendary bands, Maze of Sothoth channel a very Morbid Angel influenced vibe in their brand of brutalizing death metal. While Maze of Sothoth do stick to a tried, tested and adored framework, ‘Soul Demise’ is far from bland and tired – the quartet sound energetic and refreshing, even if their ideas are less than unique.
‘Soul Demise’ opens with “Cthulhu Calls,” a short, sinister intro the serves to build an ominous atmosphere before diving into the filthy, blast-beat ridden “Lies” – which recently premiered through Decibel Magazine. “Lies” is a sonically devastating track to properly start the album off, with a catchy, though brutal, main riff that will reverberate through your skull for days.
‘Soul Demise’ has a triumvirate of excellence right in the middle of the album. Starting with “The Outsider,” Maze of Sothoth drag you through the three best tracks on ‘Soul Demise’. “The Outsider” is as brutal as brutal gets in it’s blasting drum work, demonic gutturals and unrelenting riffs. The closing moments of “The Outsider” feature some sinister synth work that leads the listener in gently to the thrashing speed-fest that is “The Dark Passenger.” “The Dark Passenger” is utterly chaotic, and has a very Slayer-esque solo. As the chaos comes to an abrupt halt, “At The Mountains of Madness” begins its desecration of your speakers. Standing head and shoulders above the rest of ‘Soul Demise’, “At The Mountains of Madness” is pure aural annihilation. A slow, groovy riff that is as memorable as it is heavy compliments the punishing double bass work for just over two minutes before Maze of Sothoth pick up the speed. Much more focused and catchy than much of ‘Soul Demise’, “At The Mountains of Madness” is truly an example of masterful songwriting.
As brutalizing and savage as it is enjoyable, ‘Soul Demise’ is a must-buy for fans of old-school death metal with a modern, technical edge. While the influenced of Maze of Sothoth are clear, this quartet are not merely a Morbid Angel worship band – the songwriting here is exceptional and truly a pleasure to listen to. With a bit more of a unique flair and some clearer vocals, ‘Soul Demise’ would be perfect. That said, however, Maze of Sothoth’s debut is an exceptionally promising effort, and those devout of death metal would do well to keep them on their radar. The Italian quartet have a lot of potential – here’s hoping they capitalize on it.