EP Review: Dysthymia by Escarnium (Redefining Darkness Records)

After 6 years of silence, death metal merchants Escarnium are back with a blistering new effort called Dysthymia which will be released on the 16th of September via Redefining Darkness Records.

What was once a Brazilian juggernaut is now an international one, with main-man Victor Elian migrating to Germany in 2016. While still a South American band at the core, Escarnium now consists of members from Brazil, Germany, and the U.S. On their upcoming EP, Dysthymia, Brazilian death metallers Escarnium conjure up some exceptionally gloomy and downcast death metal, depicting the world in sickening shades of grey. It’s not exceedingly technical or dissonant — their slowly unfurling riffs just tap into a subconscious well of unease that serves as the perfect setting for their similarly miserable subject matter, making sinking into this swamp easy.

A truly international band with South American origins, even the record screams “global” with drums, bass and vocals engineered by Reinaldo Jr at RMS Estudio, Agudos, Brazil, rhythm guitars engineered by Nestor Carrrera at Escarnium studio, Bauru, Brazil and solos engineered by Alex Hahn at Cologne, Germany. Dysthymia was edited, mixed and mastered by Caleb Bingham at Nightmare Sound Studio, Gröningen, Netherlands and is produced By Escarnium and Caleb Bingham.

Escarnium, in 2022,  is Victor Elian on rhythm guitars and vocals, Nestor Carrera on drums, Alex Hahn on lead guitars and Vitor Giovanni on bass.

Dysthymia by Escarnium band

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Speaking on Dysthymia, Escarnium state:

2022, 03 A. C. (after COVID), More than 6 million dead, gasping for air with infected lungs. And still counting… Hypocritical evildoers dictating the rules of the “modern world”, dragging us beyond what’s primitive… the Taliban, ISIS, murderers disguised as messiahs… Modern dictators protecting families and lands, establishing the paths we trudge towards what we hope to be progress, but ultimately is revealed to be decadence. All in the name of “freedom”, they say!

Open skies, borderless internment camps. Opposers (me, you, them?) Annihilated through slow famine and misery. Radioactive sentences pronounced, and incoming inglorious demise! Anguish Ad Nausea. Endemic process, a shadow that eternally haunts humanity… And a single virus unveils our insignificance in front of the grey kingdom, that never ceases to expand.

We dedicate this release to all of those dead in the name of “reason”, inside the corridors of the Colônia Hospital, or in the frozen fields of the 731, the gulags, Auschwitz and so on; mass murders, prison systems, or on the streets of all the capitalist metropolises. Countless are the days of bloodbath. Death is always reigning and in common graves rest the old, the hated, murderers, innocent, religious, atheists, the weak, human rejects, with or without comorbidities, denialists without said reason. The grey kingdom always growing, without distinction, they all lie together, we all lie together.

Dedicated to all of those silently screaming, perishing, always about to finally live…

 

Escarnium deliver 5 new tracks and a cover of Grave’s, Into the Grave on Dysthymia. Getting underway with Inglorious Demise, you quickly get a picture of Escarnium’s style and strength. Blistering speed, intensity and a very dark, blackened sound to the overall tone and the vocals in particular. The drums are frenetic and the riffs are strong, deep and bassy. There is a definite blackened death vibe to this opener, even shining through in the exciting switch up to a more steady tempo and headbanging rhythm near the end. Far Beyond Primitive offers the same intensity and aggression levels. Added guitar squeals and a ton of technicality on some of the drum patterns offer just enough variety to keep the song sounding fresh and exciting. Chucking in a banging solo near the end is a winner too.

Deluged in Miasma and Anguish Ad Nauseum both keep the same levels of fury and fire spitting forth. Little tweaks to the riffs, some expert level drumming and lead guitars that seem to be growing into Dysthymia prevent everything blending too much. A difficult task really when the pace, the overall sound is very similar across each song. As well as that, while the vocals are immensely dark and powerful, they are very similar across each track making those guitars and drums absolutely critical in giving each song a unique identity. Something they massively succeed at.

The EP closes properly with the title track, Dysthymia and this one offers up some variety. Starting with a slower chunky riff that I adore, it grows as the drums up the revs. The slower, drawn out vocal roars works wonderfully in a song that is supremely dark and angry, yet has groove and excitement pouring out from it. The riffs are huge in this one, and the solo really hits it out of the park. A wonderful closing track. Though okay it isn’t really the closer, we do then end on a cover with Escarnium taking on Into the Grave by Grave. If you know the song, it’s a decent, dark and broody cover. If you don’t, it fits nicely into this EP. A good fit for the band with a pacey and aggressive death metal number.

Dysthymia is a really strong EP though being near 30 minutes in length, you could be forgiven for seeing this as an album by today’s standards. Escarnium aren’t changing anything up here, there is nothing game changing or completely unique about anything you will hear on this slab of metal. That’s okay though. Not everything can or will or should try to be genre altering. It’s absolutely acceptable to just be very good at your genre. To fill it with quality. That is what Escarnium have done here – delivered a top quality, straight forward death or blackened death metal record. Great stuff.

Preorder Dysthymia from Escarnium’s Bandcamp or from Redefining Darkness by following the appropriate link.

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Author

  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

Dysthymia by Escarnium (Redefining Darkness Records)
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