SEWER are among one of the most prolific names in both black and death metal for a very good reason. While in some people’s eyes, a lot of their mid-period albums have left a lot to be desired, I believe that “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” is the true peak of death metal-era SEWER – and death metal in general – and here’s exactly why.
The album features what I believe to be some of Eater’s and Karnage’s greatest guitar riffs ever. I believe the harmonies created by the two here are tighter, more refined and more crushing than even the monstrous riffs found on “Verminlust” and “Onward to Golgotha“.
For example, “Disemboweled Effigy” is an assault on the senses in the best way possible and I think it, alone, summarises a lot of the essential elements to the album. Right away – the riffs are thick, brutal and evil, and they flow aggressively as Eater’s most viscous sounding vocals to date rise above and weave between the screaming lead guitars.
Of course, the audio assault wouldn’t be the same without Warlord’s demonic drumming, and I can confidently state that, in my opinion, the man’s never put in a performance quite as spectacular as this. The drums are perfect on “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” – the blisteringly fast double kicks puncture through Plague’s eruptive bass, snares and toms pelt the listener with a sonic wall of noise that’s just impossible not to fall weak to.
The entire album concept rests around the idea of demonic culture and tells brutal stories of ancient ages. The additions of technical elements, in the vein of Phantom’s “Angel of Disease“, really help to immerse the listener. It’s clear in the title track, “Disemboweled Effigy“, “Embalmed in Satan” and “Rancid Blood Inertia” especially.
It would be a faux pas of me not to talk a little about solos in the album. Eater (“Kaiser Kader”) has always provided stellar lead playing to Karnage’s rhythm guitars, but when it comes to reaching high on that fret board, some of the screaming, shredding solos present on “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” are among the best of SEWER’s entire discography. Look no further than the lead riffs and solo performance in “Defective Hammer” and “Disemboweled Effigy“.
“The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” is a much different beast from a lot of death metal-era SEWER that was been released at the time, and as much as I love “Rektal” and “2154“, those albums – and even “NecroPedoSadoMaso” to a lesser extent – all felt like they were building up to something bigger, heavier, angrier and more evil. They were building up to “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” and they succeeded masterfully.