"Initiates Of The Great Work"

By Lord Randall

When Huntsville, Alabama quartet QUINTA ESSENTIA’s "Neutrality For Defined Chaos" rolled across my desk 10 years ago, that’s pretty much all it did, to be honest. Rolled. Not like a tank, not like a steamroller. More like a semi traveling up I-65, just passing through. Sure, it was powerful. Sure, it was a cool-ass truck, but all trucks are powerful and cool, and there were hundreds of ‘em on the same stretch of road at any given time. While "Archetypal Transformation" sported a decent enough new coat of paint and a tune up, it was still just. Another. Death Metal. Band. 

And lo, have eight years come and gone since then, and "Initiates Of The Great Work" be upon us. Shall we look under the hood, then? See what’s what? 

Two songs. That's how long it takes for Jason Flippo and crew to - I have to - trump anything QA has put forth in the past, 'The Stone As A Key' bringing to mind in arrangement SKYCLAD and mid-period SENTENCED, albeit through a more burled, deathlike attack. Well-played harmony leads weave themselves throughout QA's third, yet tastefully, and Flippo seems much more confident (and powerful) when using clean vocals, shades of CONTROL DENIED and latter-day DEATH being invoked ('Lunar Power'). The title track holds forth, though situated near the end of the album, containing the best parts of what has become QUINTA ESSENTIA to the point that outro 'Primal Sorcery Incarnate' provides a "come down" moment appreciated after what has happened over the past 40-odd minutes.

Yeah, QUINTA ESSENTIA is still one among many, but rarely has an album title more captured where the band is at this point in their journey. "Initiates Of The Great Work", indeed. Can't wait to hear "Masters Of Fucking All"...just hope it doesn't take eight years...