[7/10] Quite rare to hear a death metal album without processed drums and a crystalline production job. It makes one think of how un-heavy bands like Whitechapel and Trigger the Bloodshed really are, for they’re mostly bolstered by the production they receive. All of this makes for a tougher road for bands like Nephelium, who are kickin’ it mid-90’s style on their Coils of Entropy debut. It’s utterly trend and clean production-free, that’s for sure, yet it falls prey to a lot of the trappings that most bands 15 years ago did.
Having originally formed in Dubai in the late 90’s and since relocated to Toronto, the band’s bio states they’re the first death metal band from the Middle East, which could very well be the case. Not like the Middle East is a hotbed for death metal (usually Orphaned Land gets the nod for being the band representing this region), but the band is clearly the sum of their influences, and it’s pretty much null and void that they’re from an exotic region…you wouldn’t know otherwise if their bio wasn’t scoped.
Nephelium’s picks and pulls from various names like Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Suffocation, and Cryptopsy over this six-song effort. Because Coils of Entropy boasts a snappy, but natural production job, the band has to rely on actual songs, not lazy beatdowns to get their point across. And they do for the most, especially on the technically-inclined “Malediction” and title track, both of which benefit from knifing rhythms and chunky riffs.
About as passable as anything that came down the pike during death metal’s overload period, Coils of Entropy should serve as the proper launch point for Nephelium’s North American death metal career. Whether they’ll manage to make much more of a dent remains to be seen, although they do have a much better chance at doing it in Toronto than they would in Dubai.