Though there are no rules about what the lyrical content of a death metal album should be, it’s still surprising when I find a band that doesn’t focus on gore or Satanism. Taking a different road, Italy’s Maze of Sothoth tackle a subject that is just as sinister as anything Deicide or Incantation have covered: HP Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.
Soul Demise, the band’s debut full-length release, is a brutal/technical death metal smorgasbord, with lyrics that pay homage to The Great Old Ones. Maze of Sothoth create a sound that will certainly have fans of Suffocation and Deeds of Flesh foaming at the mouth, with heavy and technical riffs, and deep, guttural growls similar to Frank Mullen’s. The lead guitar work on tracks like “At The Mountains of Madness” and “Seed of Hatred” manage to add a level of melody (though, very dark melodies) that isn’t often found on a brutal/technical death metal release. The musicianship is flashy without coming off as pretentious, and the brutality couples nicely with the jaw-dropping solos, keeping Soul Demise from becoming an atonal mess.
Despite their young age, Maze of Sothoth sound like seasoned veterans, thanks to their considerable musical prowess and the excellent production that went into this record. Honestly, I would put Soul Demise against just about anything released by Willowtip or Unique Leader Records, two labels renowned for their high quality death metal releases. If you like your death metal heavy as hell, with technical musicianship, in the vein of Suffocation, give Maze of Sothoth a chance. Though they aren’t breaking any new sonic ground, they’re extremely good at what they do, and several steps ahead of most other bands their age.