Dreams in the Witch House
San Diego isn't typically recognized as a metal town, but that doesn't mean the conditions aren't right for spawning something unholy from below. All that sunshine and all those smiling people at the beach just beg for a troupe of miscreants to provide a brutal counterpoint via some gnarly, ugly sounds. On Dreams in the Witch House, death metal quintet Eukaryst prove to be just such a troupe.
Formed in 2009, Eukaryst have been holding down the fort in the name of death metal—one of a recent wave of groups that have brought new life to San Diego's metal scene, along with stoner-rock outfit Old Man Wizard and black-metal ghouls Ruines Ov Abaddon. However, as far as death metal goes, Eukaryst are more tuneful than most. Like Carcass and Skeletonwitch, Eukaryst balance their harsh pummel and blazing technicality with a penchant for hooks and melody that sets them apart from death metal's most guttural and blood-curdling bands.
Not that Dreams in the Witch House will be an easy sell for first-timers. Death metal will always have a high barrier for entry, and those particularly sensitive to raw, full-throated growls might not take so easily to Ben Marotta's vocals. That'd be too bad, though, because he has a venomous scream that's perfectly suited to the epic, abrasive sounds the band creates, which span from the galloping thrash-metal riffs in opening track "Born of Blood" to the surprisingly catchy harmonies of "Witch House" (no relation to the electronic-music genre) to the epic swagger of the nine-minute closer, "Inquisition."
While they display some noteworthy influences throughout Dreams—Carcass, Iron Maiden, At the Gates—Eukaryst catalyze them into impressive, even refreshing new forms. On Dreams in the Witch House, Eukaryst not only give death metal a powerful update, but they also prove that San Diego can hold its own when it comes to all things heavy.
Eukaryst will play a record-release show at Soda Bar on Friday, May 2.