Release Date: 31/10/2019
Label: Memento Mori
My introduction to the word “ectoplasm” was through the Ghostbusters animated series. Back then I knew ectoplasma simply as “ghost slime.” Over the years, it has come to mean many things related to the other side, sometimes malleable, sometimes not, but no matter what, I always liked a little ectoplasm in the mix. Now, it seems that this substance has come back into my life to engulf me in some high-quality, nasty death metal.
Ectoplasma is a Greek death metal band that has been unloading the bodies since the year the world didn’t end (2012.) White-Eyed Trance is their third slab of rotten death metal. Their strain is a cross between the cavern variety (think Tomb Mold or Vastum) and the more horror-leaning old schoolish variety. You have downtuned, rollicking death and tremolo riffs; mean, nasty bass; thundering double bass and tom attacks laid under intricate cymbal work and deep, low, filthy growls.
If that sounds like a love letter to the album, it probably is, because White-Eyed Trance is a solid death metal record. Kicking off with the raging Eviscerated in the Howling Winds, it offers you hideous, burly death with just the right technical touches. One of the things you notice is that the sound bears just the right amount of bile: the bass sometimes struggles to be heard, but the album has just the right amount of murk and punch that gives overproduced death dealers a run for their money.
The band doesn’t squander this, they instead put it to good use. White-Eyed Trance is chock-full of riffing raging tunes that bring the goods (just check out The Oak Spewed Foul Whispers to see what I mean.) But they don’t stop there: aside from what you came for, there are moments when the band transcends the simple ugly and makes it a macabre beauty, such as White-Eyed Trance: Chronozonic Covenant when a wonderful, reverb-rich solo section leads into all hell breaking loose. Another good example is Skeletal Lifeforms with it’s go-slow-go-slow alternating flow that is a shining example of engaging songwriting.
All that said, White-Eyed Trance isn’t a perfect record. While it is engaging and drop dead delicious, there is still some excess fat on these bones, namely Psychomanteum Immolation and, regrettably Alucarda, The Daughter of Darkness. The former drags down an explosive start with its run-of-the-mill leanings and the latter simply contributes nothing to the album other than extra time. It doesn’t help that the album is very front-loaded and that the second half somewhat drags despite the band’s efforts and considerable skill. At times things just devolve into typical death rigmarole (that results in quite unmemorable songs) which, on one hand, makes the better cuts stand out but on the other, makes the lesser cuts seem worse than they are.
But those are not very major gripes, because at the end of the day, Ectoplasma is here to deliver monstrous death. White-Eyed Trance is quite unconcerned with reinventing the wheel or trying to be the next innovation, it simply seeks to excel at what it does. It’s an honest day’s work. Recommended.
Giannis Grim – vocals, bass
Dion K. Alastor – guitars
George Wolf – rhythm guitar
Maelstrom – drums
01. Eviscerated in the Howling Winds
02. Psychomanteum Immolation
03. White-Eyed Trance: Chronozonic Covenant
04. The Oak Spewed Foul Whispers
05. Ghostly Emanations in the Mortuary
06. Alucarda, The Daughter of Darkness
07. White-Eyed Trance: Ensnared in Delivry
08. Skeletal Lifeforms
09. Soul of Sacrifice (Devastation cover)