Eskhaton - Horracle (Hells Headbangers)

As someone who loathes the extraneous intro tracks that often open death metal albums (nothing irritates me more than canned synth presets on a metal album), I appreciate when a band gets to the point.  Eskhaton don't dally on Horracle, leading off their new EP with one of the most urgent and ballistic tracks you'll hear all year. "Omnicidol" is an ambush, and bristles with ultramodern war metal (WM) artillery.  The track is dense with the kind of meat-hook riffs and hirsute vocals that are traditionally associated with the sub-genre, but the souped-up production and turbulent songwriting bring a frag cannon to the knife fight.  It's clear that Eskhaton aren't interested in the grayscale, "kvlt" aesthetics that almost always flatten a mix, but somehow the overall corrosiveness of this material doesn't suffer as a result. "Khaossuary" and "Vortexecution" (the menacing portmanteaus just don't stop!) continue the onslaught with more stim-packed bloodlust, and "Aftermathemagician" deploys a booby-trapped tempo shift, slowing the tank treads to a crawl and extending the band's killstreak with blunt-force melee attacks.  It offers the listener more than just a breather—the track's vocal layering hints at a hallucinatory, battle-damaged chiaroscuro that reminds me of Teitanblood's most recent output.  Eskhaton have thrown down an armored gauntlet with this EP.  It's easily their best work to date, and demonstrates that the arms race of  modern WM is far from over.