Curse Of The Pharaoh


Italian/German Death Metal band HUMATOR released their sophomore album past February 28th 2022, "Curse Of […]
By Santiago Puyol
April 30, 2022
Humator - Curse Of The Pharaoh album cover

Italian/German Death Metal band HUMATOR released their sophomore album past February 28th 2022, "Curse Of The Pharaoh", coming eleven years after their debut album "Memories From The Abyss". Clocking in a little under 40 minutes, Curse Of The Pharaoh is a straightforward Death Metal album with a few proggy and techy tendencies, but that mostly sticks to brutal and to-the-point songwriting, infused with Thrash and Punk urgency.

The album begings by "Opening The Tomb", an atmospheric intro track filled with ambient sounds. It is a vaguely sinister welcome, more of a warning of what evils are about to come. "Anachronism" is the first proper track and it makes for an outstanding mood settler, as it perfectly encapsulates most of what this album has to offer. Great riffing, varied harsh vocal styles -from higher screeches to deep, animalistic growls-, tempo ebbing and flowing, keeping things in flux. A gorgeous solo closes the track in neat fashion.

"Djed" comes next, opening with a cacophony of heaviness; speedy blast beats and noisy guitar work abound. There's even time for a very brief drum solo, or an extended fill, whatever fits the criteria better. A bit of bluesiness creeps into the songwriting by the means of a recurring 6/8 time signature and a strong triplet feel. Being the third longest track, its shifting structure gives a clear epic feel to it, allowing ideas to fully form, develop and slowly give ground to new ones.

Slowing down the pace, we go deep down "Into The Crypt". This is a another lengthy -by the album's standards- track that allows for some respite without going any softer or losing the heavy edge. The tempo shift might not be that dramatic, but the rhythm section has a bit of a dragging feel, purposely so, chugging along as it conveys the delicate nature of entering ancient and dangerous territory. Some tremolo picked action and vaguely phrygian melodies reaffirm the menacing nature of this surroundings. Things escalate, as the tempo picks up and the heaviness grows. The mix of screeching and growling makes for an exhilarating mood once again. It ends on a beautiful acoustic coda, very OPETH-like. Together with "Djed", it feels like the centrepiece of the album.

"Sadness" follows with balls-to-the-wall heaviness. It is a short track that ramps up the intensity after a somewhat slower affair. Thrashy, punkish and simply brutal, it cuts right into the bone. A highlight of the record, and a perfect full stop before the lovely folk interlude, "Nynu". It feels a bit like an intermission, after "Curse Of The Pharaoh's" end of its first act.

"Apep" picks up the tempo quickly, with an almost-Punk urgency, echoing "Sadness'" brutality. Thrashy drumming, nasty soloing and angular riffing keeps thing steady and brutal. Some sluggish breaks vaguely slow things down. Piero Geloso's syncopated work on the slower sections is magnificent, it keeps the track on constant motion, carrying this anxious sensation that anytime he can drop an off-beat and everything will start unravelling at the seams. The ending is insane and I won't even try to describe it, but trust that it will crush the listener, though.

A very straightforward Death track comes next, in the shape of "Corporal Mortification". Strong musicianship as on every other track, a bit groovy even, but nothing too special. The machine-like bass outro is an odd choice but the most interesting aspect of the track, at least the most unique feature considering the ground covered by the record so far.

"Born To Be Sacrificed" is another shapeshifting song, closer to the proggy tendencies of "Djed". The harsh vocal layering somehow emulates a gang vocal effect, but dirtier, adding a lot of personality to HUMATOR's sound. Some thrashy bits retain and recontextualize "Apep's" energy. This is a song that feels catchy at times, and it perfectly balances every strength the band has shown this far into the record. An outstanding presentation card.

The title track is the longest of the set, yet it doesn't feel as expansive as either "Djed" or "Into The Crypt", mostly due to adhering to a verse-chorus-verse structure -or at least the Death Metal version of that. It feels a tad repetitive, and even with the top-notch soloing doesn't really save it from feeling a bit like a chore.

Closing on a high point, though, "Arisen From The Ashes" adds actual gang vocals -or is it a chorus of the damned?- at the very start, injecting that Punkish energy that had pervaded several moments of the record so far. It is an impressive closer. To the point, an effective three-minute track that does its job quite nice. It feels considerably more dynamic than the title track, leaving a better taste in the mouth a. Some techy bits, tempo changes and weird time signatures make for an impressive finale.

Overall, HUMATOR deliver a strong body of work with this somewhat comeback record. "Curse Of The Pharaoh" is filled with high-intensity Death Metal, allowing for sheer brutality, thrashy energy and some more melodic, proggy moments. The sporadic use of acoustic instrumentation and ambient sounds make for a richer palette, even if they don't necessarily fully mix with foreign timbres into their sound, something this reviewer feels the band could be entirely capable of doing, and which could open up a ton of possibilities for the future, especially if they decide to double down on some of their more complex songwriting bits.

8 / 10









"Curse Of The Pharaoh" Track-listing:

1. Opening The Tomb (Intro)
2. Anachronism
3. Djed
4. Into The Crypt
5. Sadness
6. Nynu
7. Apep
8. Corporal Mortification
9. Born To Be Sacrified
10. Curse Of The Pharaoh
11. Arisen From The Ashes

Humator Lineup:

Ray Caltagirone - Guitars
Piero Geloso - Drums
Antonino Durante - Guitars
Simon Moch - Bass
Michael Bach - Vocals

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