Review of Exiler by Construct Of Lethe

Band: Construct of Lethe
Album: Exiler
Release Date: 20 June 2018
Record Label: Everlasting Spew Records
Buy on CD ($10) or digital ($5) from: Bandcamp

Cover of Exiler by Construct of Lethe

Finally getting this Construct of Lethe review up on the site that we’ve had sitting on the back burner for a bit. Vivek wrote this piece about one of the most brutal death metal bands to have ties to our area. As usual you can stream songs at the end of the post, and there’s even some studio footage of the drums being recorded for one of the songs too!

Construct of Lethe is a death metal band based in Woodbridge, Virginia. According to their Bandcamp page, this band is Tony Petrocelly’s band to combine and release music from his previous bands, which are Xaoc, Dead Syndicate, and Betheldeign. Since then, the band has taken its own path. Exiler is Construct of Lethe’s second album after Corpsegod (January 2016) and their only EP The Grand Machination (October 2016). Exiler is a powerhouse that does not let up and has a barrage of twists and turns to keep the listener engaged. Before I discuss the album, let’s talk about who Construct of Lethe are.

Construct of Lethe are composed of the members Tony Petrocelly, David Schmidt, and Patrick Bonvin. Tony Petrocelly handles the rhythm guitar and bass duties, Patrick Bonvin handles the lead guitar work, and the lineup is completed with David Schmidt on vocals. Construct of Lethe recruited Kévin Paradis, of the French death metal band Benighted, to be the session drummer on Exiler. Petrocelly handled all of the recording, mixing, and mastering of the album.

On Exiler, Construct of Lethe showcase punishing and suffocating death metal, while showing off technical prowess as well. Lyrically, it’s a well-developed anti-Christian rant, filled with plenty of Deicide and black metal influenced anti-christian lyrics. Throughout the album, the listener is treated to death metal that is relentless. There is also a slight technical prowess and melody that underlie much of the aggressive death metal attack. This is topped off with Schmidt’s excellent vocal delivery. His voice elevates the music. It’s very much in the vein of Immolation and Morbid Angel.

In “Rot of Augury”, the opening and main riff is mid paced while having a punch to it. It paints an image of an army marching across the battlefield and has a similar vibe to something like Morbid Angel on Gateways to Annihilation. Around the two minute four second mark, “Rot of Augury” uses plenty of blast beats to transition into a more intense second riff. This transition works because of how it grabs and holds on to the listener and keeps the them hooked for the rest of the song. It also has a very good use of pinch harmonics to show off a dissonant riff. This speedy and dissonant riff is great because of how rough yet technical the riff is. The use of pinch harmonics in this riff are very engaging too, they are a cool little flash which keeps the listener attentive to the song. This moves into another fast and chromatic riff that is used as a segue into the lead. It sounds great as a transition into the lead. The lead has a slight melody which makes it good to hear. After this lead, the track goes into the breakdown, which serves as another transition into another lead. The use of a lead to finish the breakdown is smart, it continues the breakdown without giving the feeling of it dragging on. Once after the solo is finished, the song concludes with the main riff.

On the album’s third track, “The Clot,” the Immolation influence begins to peak. This track in particular is where Construct of Lethe show off their technical abilities at their best. From the intro alone, we are treated to a song that has all the anger, brutality, and greatness of something that came out of New York in the 90s. The main riff is a very blasting and harmonic riff, it sounds as if there is a nonstop jackhammer pounding away. It’s fast and right up in your face and has a very powerful kick to it. “The Clot” incorporates a slightly melodic riff as a way to contrast the machine gun-like roaring riff that was done before. The second lead on this track is supported by the intro riff which enhances the lead. It makes it very abstract and surreal. Lyrically, in contrast, this is where the Morbid Angel influence peaks. Especially the Gateways to Annihilation and Formulas Fatal to the Flesh Morbid Angel too. One example of this, “His wings are numbered hexakosioi hexekonta hex.” Another example of this:

“I undertake katabasis to descend to the Hetoimasia
Affliction amongst deities
Crawl from the desert with phulakterion bound to the limb
Regurgitate the schema: listen, hear, do unholiness Sanctify to me!”

Both of these examples show how creative and well developed these blasphemous lyrics are. It’s clear Construct of Lethe know their anti-Christian language and they have no problem spouting such lyrics, even if the listener has no clue what they mean. I looked up the meanings behind some of these and “hexakosioi hexekonta hex” is ancient Greek for 666. It takes the language used by orthodox Greek Christianity for blasphemy. It’s well thought out and delivered.

The vocals provided David Schmidt are excellent and have many demonic elements to them. It’s the perfect death metal vocal style for Exiler. Throughout the album, the vocals provided by David Schmidt, have a traditional, yet very gruff edge to them. There is also a strong “traditional” demonic sound to them. It makes the delivery of the blasphemous lyrics evil and it sounds like they are coming from hell. One example is the track “A Testimony of Ruin.” This is a slower track which helps to showcase the strength of his vocals. Schmidt’s vocals are guttural and have a strong bellow to them. Schmidt is able to inject a lot of energy into each word because of the slowness of the song, it makes the delivery of the lyrics a lot more harsh because the anger in his voice is channeled in full. On “Soubirous,” Schmidt’s vocals are at their most sinister. The listener hears how much of a vile and raspy growl Schmidt can produce which shows off his range as a result. This is occurring on the fastest track on the album. Schmidt’s vocals enhance the music of the track and makes the music even more evil. The vocals on “Soubirous” act as another instrument and really pack an unholy jab to the listener. While on this track we see the heights of David Schmidt’s vocals, on the track “Fugue State,” is where weaknesses are present. Mainly in the clean and spoken word parts of the track. I can understand why the sections where the spoken word vocals are used. That said, Schmidt’s normal voice for these lyrics makes them more comedic than sinister. His normal voice is funny to listen to after hearing all of the growling before. It has a cheesy feel to them and makes the lyrics seem amateur. I laughed at line “I come to the realization that I have in my hand, the head of Jesus fucking Christ.” I laughed even harder at the backing vocal of “Christ.” The clean, spoken word vocals occur for most of the song and bring the song down as a whole. However, this only occurs on “Fugue State” and do not appear on the rest of the album. It’s a hiccup at worst. For the most part, Schmidt’s vocals compliment the riffs and the music enhances Schmidt’s vocals. It is the symbiotic relationship between these two elements that shines very bright in Exiler.

Exiler is one of the best local releases I have heard in a while. It is a showcase in traditional and dissonant death metal, with a touch of technical prowess and hints of melody. Construct of Lethe take these musical elements and combine them with a sinister and bellowing vocal style that puts the tracks into overdrive. Combining all of this with sophisticated and blasphemous lyrical content make this record an ideal example of how death metal is done right. This is a great continuation of what was started on Corpsegod.

Drums recording for Rot Of Augury

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