Genre: Death Metal
Label: Unholy Conspiracy Deathwork
Ichor’s decade long activity features four albums, and this German follows the wave of modern death metal, something that gets more and more apparent with each of their releases. Their latest effort “Hadal Ascending” came out early December last year, and it is strongly tied to the band’s previous two records “Benthic Horizon” and “Depths”. The concept around them all has to do with a fantasy water underworld ruled by sea monsters, and the lyrics narrate various stories and happenings around this, in a horror manner, heavily inspired by, I would guess, Lovecraft.
References of “Hadal Ascending” can be found in “Depths”, which shows how the band tells this story through multiple releases. While this notion is really interesting, that was about when the interesting parts of this band ended for me personally, as this flavor of new death metal would not reach my playlist, not because it is a failure by the band but because it isn’t something memorable or extraordinary, compared to all other bands out there. Ichor play basic melodic death metal patterns, with studio effects, some deathcore elements (for example, in “Black Dragons”), but the compositions don’t have anything special that would put them ahead of anyone else playing / jamming modern melodeath.
I had issues with the vocals, which consist of decent growls but all the other techniques used by the singer are inferior, as well as the kind of clean production that makes metal of our decade a bit flat. I found myself enjoying a couple of synth-based passages (the ending of the album in “Conquering the Stars” and the last part of “Tales from the Depths”) more than the main parts of the album, which has a handful of legit moments, and then a lot of filler parts with weak middle paced guitar lines.
I believe “Hadal Ascending” will be appreciated by fans of this style of death metal, which isn’t as aggressive or dark as other bands in the genre, and they have also worked well in putting the songs together in terms of structure, but I didn’t listen to anything that great in the whole of the album. Frequently, there are recognizable good guitar lines in it but they are played in a way that is not at all edgy, so it doesn’t deliver the strength I would like a death metal album to deliver, at all. I remember I had previously listened to Ichor, they have taken a turn from a more deathcore oriented band, which was really bad, but still the band needs to work on their own sound and how heavy they want it to be.