For any Death Metal aficionado, South America has been a treasure trove of bands, both old and new. Chile in particular has bestowed us with many high quality performances in recent years, taking away the spotlight from others. Yet Cemetery Dwell’s first album is a potent reminder that Argentina has been steadily pumping out new talent as well. First making their debut in 2020, they followed up with a demo last year that caught my attention with their particular take on Finnish Death Metal. Now with their first full length ‘Towards a Dreadful Cosmos”, the band have continued to refine and polish their craft of atmospheric, yet crushing Death Metal.
When I say that Cemetery Dwell plays Finnish Death Metal, I refer to the moody and melancholic vibe of Demigod, early Amorphis and early Sentenced to name a few. This style prides itself on pummeling groovy rhythmic sections contrasted with moments of eerie and mournful melodies that is equal parts devastating yet devastating. Yet far from being a mere copycat, Cemetery Dwell add their own flair by merging this style with the very early strain of Melodic Death Metal – acts such as Sacrilege, Intestine Baalism and A Canorous Quintet. In essence, bands that brought in an element of harmonized guitar leads but without missing the bite and the ‘Death Metal” part that a lot of the genre would shed in later years. Thus in many sections, we are treated to many tremelo picked passages and some raspier vocals that add a layer of dynamism needed.
One only needs to listen to a track like ‘Through the Ashen Lands’ to see how well Cemetery Dwell weave in their respective influences into a cohesive package. The song begins with simple, yet eerie guitar harmony lifted straight from the Finnish school and with Tyrant’s deep guttural vocals punctuating in the background. The song quickly traverses through some rapid fire tremolo picked sections and Tyrant’s black metal shrieks before fading out with a guitar solo. If we were to list all the memorable moments of the album here, this list would be eternal – but the passages in ‘Beyond the Threshold” and ‘Within the Coffin’ are awe-spiring. What is also apparent is how the band have taken their time to get the right production, with nothing something too buried in the mix and really granting the melodic aspect resounding power.
As Death Metal slowly enters 40 years of existence, it can be hard to find bands that push the boundaries of the genre further or who are willing to take risks. Cemetery Dwell’s excellent crossover of classic Finnish Death Metal and the early (and often neglected) field of early Melodic Death Metal will satisfy both traditional fans of the genre but also those looking for something fresh in the field.