Genocide shrines – Manipura Imperial Deathevokovil (2015)

genocide shrines

…The problem is you view everything from your reclusive sit-in-a-room-and-comment perspective, and don’t take into account scene-specific demographics and also the need for bands to keep a certain type of sound alive…. Genocide Shrines very successfully channels the sound of bands like demo-era Beherit, Teitanblood, Archgoat, Wrathprayer and Proclamation and has combined it with occult and native sensibilities in a fantastic manner…Such music is wholly aesthetic-driven, so looking for technical precision in the riffs is just not getting the point, these supposedly linear riffs successfully establish the atmospheres trying to be made.”

The above comment was made by a reader of the review of Genocide Shrines’ debut EP published on these pages not so long ago.

There are some fundamental observations to be made on the historical performance or reenactment, as it were, which bands like Genocide Shrines and Pseudogod practice, of what is an essentially minimalist style of extreme black/death metal as first played by Beherit and Blasphemy:

  • Historically accurate homages as new bands deem them can still only ever be modernist reinterpretations of the originals. This applies to all metal but more severely so to bands like Genocide Shrines toiling in their restrictive template of choice. When we talk of the spirit of old bands, it is, among other things, a metaphor for the conditions and the surroundings and the time in which they created their music. This includes much under the umbrella of human experience, aspects ranging from the cultural to the technological to the individual, all specific to that particular pocket of time that the original individuals occupied and their very personal idiosyncrasies that led to the making of their brand of music. A new band can get an old sound right but it can only ever fall short of achieving the true spirit of that old sound, in all that it entails.
  • The harsh minimalism of Beherit and Blasphemy was a rebellious act of intent for its time, erupting as a reaction to an emergent solitary superpower hegemony and the rapid advent of crass commercialism and cultural assimilation that followed in its wake. Genocide Shrines come from a war-ravaged nation and have a legitimate case for being pissed off but it can’t be denied that there also is a ready market in place today for the music that they make.
  • The style that Genocide Shrines currently play is far too strait-jacketed for it to become anything but redundant after its earliest excursions. Every attentive listener should ask himself whether it is possible for a band of this style to revivify itself on future efforts, and to break out of its tight, self-imposed paradigm that is almost sadomasochistically tyrannical in nature.

None of this means that Genocide Shrines are an insincere band, just an underdeveloped, unoriginal one. This full length sees attempts at creating a more expansive, almost trance-like fabric than was heard on the EP, chiefly through the use of droning sections, both slow and fast, and the most tentative of explorations of a “brighter” sound. The limited arsenal of chord shapes and notes and cookie-cutter tremolo progressions available at the band’s disposal, however, soon render this budding ambitiousness tedious.

The reader above mentions a particular “aesthetic” that Genocide Shrines strive for; as far as can be made out, Manipura  Imperial Deathevokovil has a consistently oppressive atmosphere generated out of a heavy production awash in reverb and low-end that drowns out all but the most obvious of riffs. But only the most credulous ear can begin to suggest that this music communicates an “aesthetic” beyond frivolous surface claustrophobia.

Dialogue between the reams of atonal material found here remains somewhat rough-hewn and simplistic, and song scaffolding, though improved, is yet to assume a natural strength and unity of structure. As a result, Manipura  Imperial Deathevokoviconveys little of substance as “absolute death metal” goes and has to seek recourse to various atmospheric asides to overcome its musical shortcomings.

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7 Responses to Genocide shrines – Manipura Imperial Deathevokovil (2015)

  1. Kvrdz says:

    “None of this means that Genocide Shrines are an insincere band” – I’m not so sure, if this isn’t contrived hard-pandering i don’t know what is.

  2. gk says:

    Feel like you guys are being overly harsh on this album. While i agree that the debut was more style over substance, there’s quite a bit of progression and depth to this release. The band has moved a distance away from the obvious influences of the debut and the pounding martial rhythms here bring to mind industrial bands of the martial variety rather than any of the usual, so called war metal bands.

    I think this is quite an impressive full length debut and the band deserves some praise. They managed to side step most of your current trends, avoided the new wave of old school and incantaclone sounds so where does this accusation of contrived hard pandering come from? I honestly believe these guys are well on their way to crafting their own unique sound.

    • It’s not really a unique sound at all, though. Take away the bottom with the clanging percussion, and this is not very different from either Incantation or any number of forgotten death/grind bands from the 90s. Extremely simple riffs, only distended a lot more than grind, and listless slow parts. Check out Devourment’s Conceived In Sewage and see if you don’t hear similarities.

      It’s like this: you take a simple three or four note riff, and you repeat it ad nauseam without any concern for genuine, meaningful movement. Throw in a “militaristic”, doomish section. Glue this together and you have a pseudo-approximation of something progressive and structured. But repeating bar upon bar of riffs that aren’t especially original of themselves isn’t progression, it merely serves to paper over the “discrete” aspect of this music.

      GS would probably disown the progressive label but I don’t mean it in the pompous prog-rock vein. Just honest movement that somewhat validates the running time.

  3. gk says:

    I’m saying they’re on their way to crafting a unique sound. Not really sure about your argument though. Reads like you’re saying, take away their differentiating factor and then they’ll sound like a bunch of other bands. That’s not something to base your criticism on.

    I get what you mean by progressive but i feel like the band aren’t just coming from a purely metal perspective in creating these songs. That’s where I think the band is trying and to a large part succeeding in going off on their own.

    …and Devourment is some straight up, pretty generic sounding brutal dm. Again, don’t get the comparison at all.

    • ODB says:

      The essence of the underlying somber reply can only manifest into the darkened roots behest of utter lack of homage to the gods aforementioned. Your accusation of the said fact’s invalidity tells there is no future to any debate here.

      How’re the cornflakes today though?

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