Ævangelist is a duo from USA that released their debut EP in 2011, and their first full-length album "De Masticatione..." was unleashed in 2012. I am not familiar with the duo's previous works, but it seems that they've been around for some time since the music on this album sounds very well matured overall.

The opening song lasts for ten minutes, the first four if it being horror-ambient. After that it's time for the real deal; dark, heavy and oppressive death metal with raw and low-end heavy sounds. The songs vary from fast blasting to sludgy drudging waist-deep in rotten carcasses, and overall have nothing catchy or especially original in their riffs; the music of Ævangelist is no fun, simply said. The drumming is lively but bare enough to suit the riffs' thick and raw harshness, and helps the rather oldschool-styled string-section to highlight its slightly more modern day influences (the fat but distorted sound in particular) as well.

The vocals come as both traditionally low-pitch gurgles as well as sharper tormented shrieks with a good dose of echoing. They're not there to draw attention, but to deepen the songs' atmosphere. The main atmospheric element and one of the band's most original traits, however, lies in the spheres of pure horror that are already brought up clear and loud by the cover artwork. The songs are pretty much constantly backed by horror ambience that ranges from eeriely off-key notes to noisier drone-wailing, lo-fi choir samples and, for example on the fifth track, more prominent electro-elements in the form of single loud notes and unsettling melodies. These elements don't sound too fancy and are rather far from innovative or original on their own, as the final track demonstrates, but their mixture with the death metal-songs works surprisingly well.

As for the future, I'd like to hear better-comprised songs from the group, and I hope they'll be adding some more contrasts into their songs instead of creating a mass of oppression. They can clearly compose and make atmospheres, but the mixture of horror-ambient and death metal could be taken much further, and to be made more memorable as well. Either way, the noise/ambient-side needs more work; it works when being the background for death metal, but when they're more prominent they lack in atmosphere; as the clearest example, the final song's lighter feel and cheesier synths sound quite out of place on the album.

The songs don't have an appealing flow, instant hooks, catchy riffs or anything of the like. Instead, they offer a flooding mass of heavily horror-influenced death metal with a disturbing and oppressive atmosphere. The holistic and never relenting nature of this album makes it quite heavy on the ears, but as an experience it is a very satisfying one. I'll be looking forward to Ævangelist's future releases.

7 / 10